Choosing a name for your baby is possibly one of the most important responsibilities ever to fall upon a person’s shoulders. This is the name that they will carry for the rest of their lives. There’s so many different things to consider:
Will it be shortened to a nickname? Do you like the nickname?
Will it be easy to spell?
Will people pronoun it right?
Soes it rhyme with anything that people could tease you about?
What does it mean?
What will like when they’re 40?
Now I strongly believe that the babies name is to be selected by the parents and that nobody else has a right to their two cents worth. But we all know that when it comes to family, names can be a point of tension. In my family that tension came from my dad.
My dad has come from a long tradition of using family names, clans etc as names, think royal style. When Prince William & Kate are choosing their kids names they are expected to pick from a list of family names and the public bet on what they will choose. My dad expected much the same. My middle name is literally my paternal grandmothers full name- first & last! I’ve always hated it. It has nothing to do with her, and everything to do with the fact that I don’t like having a surname as part of my middle name. I can’t fit my full name on forms. Every time a friend finds out my middle names for the first time they laugh, then I have to follow by explaining that its a family name, it goes on and on.
When I got married my dad literally asked me if I would keep my surname and even asked my husband if he would change his as I’m the only child and a daughter. We politely declined and my husband actually took offence to being asked. But the patriarchal sentiment my dad was pushing was really starting to push the boundary of acceptable.
When my partner and I discussed names for our boys we quite easily came up with the first name. It wasn’t a family one, in fact we come from such large families we wanted a name that none of our relatives had, With our eldest his middle name is my husband’s a name, a name that came from a family friend of my husbands family that had passed away years before. My dad took it hard, I think he actually felt betrayed that my son had none of HIS families names. With my second we thought going and hard about the middle name. We both didn’t want the surname of a past ancestor that neither of us felt a connection with. We didn’t want to use my dads name nor my husbands dads name. We considered going with something without a connection to anything so that no one felt left out. We experimented with shortened versions of traditional family names. In the end I decided to go with my dad’s saint name. For me it was a way to honour my dad, make him feel recognised and let him know I really considered him in the naming of my son.
Well it went down like a tonne of bricks literally. It wasn’t good enough for my dad, in fact he called it ‘a joke’. To be honest I find it hard not to be upset that he doesn’t see it as a compliment to him, and if I’d known he was going to be that way I might have chosen something else that had nothing to do with him. But I love my dad, and whether he likes it or not, I feel that I did the right thing.
I know other families that have just not given their kids middle names to avoid the politics. Ones that have just given their own middle names to create a tradition where a long line on the family tree will all have the same middle name. And others that have just gone with something that sounds nice over any tradition.
At the end of the day you truly have to accept that somewhere along the line someone will not be happy with the name you pick for you child. With time they will have to come to accept it and move on. Its not easy when the tension arrises but as the parent its your right to choose. Plus these people are not part of the difficult conversation you have with your spouse trying to ensure both of you are happy. They are not aware of the stress and pressure that they are causing on you over a name, when all of your energy should be spent enjoying your new bundle of joy. So don’t worry too much, pick something you love, don’t regret the name because you chose it to suit someone else.
Good luck with the naming of your little ones.
Mumma Z xxx