Is Your Baby’s Name the One You Wish You Had?

I’ve been thinking about the latest spate of celebrity baby names, and I’ve noticed a trend—the celebs who have more unique names themselves gave their kids very traditional names (i.e. actress Shiri Appleby and her daughter, Natalie), while ones who have more common names themselves went offbeat for their babies (see Holly Madison and her daughter, Rainbow Aurora, and Kristen Bell and her daughter, Lincoln Bell Shepard).

So are we all looking to give our kids the names we wish we had? I know I didn’t like that my name was super popular and had no nickname possibilities, and so I gave my girls names that weren’t super common (Katharine and Margaret), and came with a slew of nickname possibilities. And I’ve seen that with some of my friends—one who loathed the fact that her name, Katherine, was always shortened to a nickname, gave her sons names that can’t really be shortened. Another who disliked the offbeat spelling of her name gave her kids names with classic spellings.

I think it’s only natural that we’d want to give our kids names in the style we wish we’d been named. But does that mean that my daughters are going to pick short and sweet names for their kids? Or that all the Olivias and Jacobs from this generation are going to rebel and give their kids offbeat names like Wheat and Amaryllis?

Let me know if my theory’s totally bunk! In the comments, let me know what you would have changed about your own name—and if you picked names for your kids don’t have that particular issue.

Image: Babies by Nejron Photo/


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  1. by Jenny Allmon

    On April 11, 2013 at 4:00 am

    I chose traditional names for my children, not because I lack imagination, but because I want my children to have strong dignified names that will carry them far in life. A child’s appreciation of their own name is the first and foremost important thing when it comes to self-recognition and character-building. The last thing I would want is to be “creative” and throw letters together to form a new “unique” name that can’t be defined or spelled. Life is full of obstacles, I don’t want my child to think of his or her name as another hurdle or crutch.

  2. by Jill

    On April 12, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    I think this is very true. I gave my daughters long, feminine names with cutesy nicknames because mine was so short and plain and I envied the other girls when I was in school. But my older daughter complains that her given name is too long and noone associates her nickname with it. I bet she will give her child a shorter name with no obvious nickname. My mom gave me the short name because she didn’t like her formal name and preferred to go by her short nickname.

  3. by Margaret E

    On April 12, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    I’ve hated my first name (it’s Margaret, btw) my entire life, and go by my middle name. I made sure to give my daughter different styles of names. Her first name is unusual, but historical and meaningful. Her middle name is a traditional favorite and family name. I tried to give her a name that had layers of meaning, several nickname options, and few other people with the same name, which is a combination of what I like (nicknames) and don’t like (everything else) about my own very traditional name. I tried to give it to her with the attitude that it’s her name to do what she wants with, as someone who has wanted to legally change her name from Margaret to something (anything) else since I was five, but has never done so because of family pressure.

  4. by Laurie

    On April 12, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    What is funny about this is that all while growing up I strongly disliked my name because it was not only uncommon, but the spelling was the uncommon version of the name. I hated that I could never get any of those customized magnets or whatnot from gift shops and that everyone called me Laur or Laura…because apparently the “ie” was hard to say or something? I always wished that my parents either gave me a more common name or a name with nickname possibilities. So when I first came up with names, I picked more common names like Samantha or Kathryn, etc. But! When the time came for naming my daughter, I ended up going with a name that is barely in the top 1000 list! Gwyneth (not named for Gwyneth Paltrow) was the name we decided on, with the nickname Gwynna. Now this name isn’t on any customized magnets from gift shops and I doubt she’ll meet another Gwyneth in her lifetime due to it being so uncommon. I don’t know if she’ll grow up hating it for the same reasons why I hated my name, but we really liked the name and we felt that it could have enough nicknames to go along with it that she could choose one she liked.

  5. by Kristy Brimm

    On April 12, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    I have 4 children my oldest and youngest have non traditional names and my two middle ones have traditional names…my oldest Destyni and my youngest Chantz(chance) my middle two.. Austin, and Sadie…Not sure really why that is other then I love their names and had them all picked out before I even had my first child and hoped that their dad would like them too…As for my name I have never liked the spelling but I have always liked my name…

  6. by Sammiifayse

    On April 12, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    Both my husband and I have hideously common names (Michael and Samantha) and it drives me insane. There was nothing worse than having 4 Sams in a classroom in high school, not to mention all the Michaels within our respective families (I have a husband, a brother and a brother in law all named Michael). To that end, when we were naming our son, I was adamant that he have a name that was uncommon enough that he would be the only one, but not so bizarre that it would get the shit kicked out of him. It’s how we arrived at Emmett Viktor. Viktor is spelt with a k instead of a c not in an attempt to be different, but as homage to my husband’s grandfather’s heritage.
    We already have names picked out for a second child (if and when) with options for multiples. Of all 4 names we have, I think Kaiden is the most common option of the 4 (2 x boys names, 2 x girls names).

  7. by Andi

    On April 12, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    I have always loved my name. My name is Andrea, but have always gone by Andi (unless I was in trouble and then I got the full Andrea Jane). Our 3 boys have family names whether it be first or middle. Family is everything so I felt it important to do this. Dylan Thomas (Thomas after his paternal grandfather), Eli Tyler (Eli was my paternal grandfater’s name and Tyler is my husband’s name) and finally we have Riley Joseph (Joseph after my husband’s stepdad and I love that Riley isn’t super common for boys). I love the names we chose for our little monsters! :)

  8. by Kimberly

    On April 12, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    I love my name (Kimberly Renee), but I just absolutely hafe the fact that most people just assume that calling me “Kim” is OK! It’s NOT…that is not what is on my birth certificate and it is not how I introduce myself, nor how I sign anything. My email signature at work included the caveat “NOT Kim”. Most people actually pay attention to it, and have even commented on it (nothing bad or mean), but there are others… I even had one lady email me to apologize after re-reading a message and noticing the “Not Kim” addition! :-) I don’t have any children, but there are several names that I like: Tinsley Rae (for a girl, both family names), Hillary Paige (no, not after HER! LOL), Houston Callahan and Beau Henry.