5 Baby Name Battles You Can Totally Stop Fighting
At odds with your mate, mom, or BFF over a baby name? Here's why you don't need to worry.
The biggest pre-baby battle between my husband and me? No lie: It was the spelling of my daughter's name. I wanted Catherine, he favored Kathryn. After weeks of bickering, we finally settled on Katharine, and my daughter, my husband, and I have been happy with the name ever since.
That's something to keep in mind if you're in the middle of your own epic war over a baby name, whether you and your mate aren't seeing eye to eye, or family members or friends are putting up a fuss about your pick. What seems like a big deal right now probably won't matter too much in the grand scheme of things.
So, if you're in the middle of one of these common baby name battles, here's how to make your peace and pick a moniker that's perfect for your little one.
Battle #1: Your baby name is too popular.
You adore Emma or Noah, but your husband Mike (one of the 10 Mikes in your circle of friends) is putting the kibosh on a top 10 name. Baby name popularity tends to be the biggest issue for parents who were given popular names from their era (the Jessicas, Michaels, and Jennifers). They don't want their kids to be known as Emma J. or Noah T.
Keep in mind, though, that there's a reason why these names are popular—they're generally timeless, classic baby names that are easy to spell and pronounce and wonderfully wearable. In other words, they're exactly what most people look for in a baby name. And today's top 10 is still not quite as popular as the top 10 from 30 years ago, as more people branch out into the more unique names out there. (For instance, there were nearly 60,000 Jennifers born in 1980, while the #1 girls name from 2014, Emma, was only used for 20,000 girls.)
I can say that growing up it was no big deal to be Lisa M., back when I was one of nearly 28,000 Lisas (and one of three in my class). And it's no big deal if you love a top 10 name, too. You and your child will be in good company.
Battle #2: Your baby name choice is unusual.
You want your kiddo to be Khaleesi or Anakin, but the conservative crew in your family is pooh-poohing your pick. In most cases, this battle happens because the parents-to-be are reacting to their own ultra-popular names by going to the other extreme—and the more conventional arm of the family is not so happy about this baby name revolution.
Here's the thing: There's never been a better time to buck the status quo than now, when more and more people are looking to pop culture, nature and locations for their unique baby name inspiration. So even if there's never been a Jubilee in your family tree, the 21st century may be the perfect time to start a new baby name trend.
How do you win over your conservative crew? You can show them the baby name popularity lists, and how names like your pick are becoming more in vogue. Or you can simply keep mum on your pick until you actually give your kiddo the name! Once it's attached to that adorable baby, it may just grow on grandma.
Battle #3: You "stole" a friend's baby name, or your friend "stole" yours.
You had Henry and Charlotte all set for your future babies—but apparently, so did your BFF or your sister. And, depending on how due dates shook out, one of you "stole" the name from the other. If it's family and someone's giving the name in homage of a beloved family member, this battle may become pretty contentious.
Before you break ties over a name you love, remember that old saying about imitation being the sincerest form of flattery. Odds are, you both picked the name for the same sentimental reasons, or because you share a particular sense of style (which is why you guys are such close friends). There is absolutely no reason why you can't still both use the name, even if it results in a little confusion when you get together. And don't forget, nicknames can make it easier to manage.
Battle #4: You don't like a common nickname for your baby name preference, and don't want anyone to use it.
Here's the thing: You can fight this battle while he's a baby (i.e. "We prefer you call him Alexander, not Alex.") But the truth of the matter is, people are going to call him what they want, and once he hits school age and gets his own opinion and his own circle of friends, you may be the only one calling him by the original pick.
I've seen this played out numerous times: My Katharine, who was always called Katie, prefers her full name and introduces herself that way to everyone she meets. My aunt refused to let her son Matthew be called Matt "because it's like a doormat." But everyone (including her) calls him Matt now, because that's what he likes. Eventually, you may be overruled by the person who is actually wearing the name—as what he or she likes is what really matters.
Battle #5: A name that has meaning for you or your mate has a negative association for the other person.
Your mate wants to name the baby after his dad, but that's the name of your ex. Or your baby name pick reminds your spouse of the bully who tormented her all through high school. Everyone has names that give them the heebie-jeebies because of past associations.
But if the baby name pick that makes your skin crawl has really positive and sentimental associations for your partner? Consider letting the sentimental win out. It may not happen overnight, but eventually, that name will come to be associated with your favorite little bundle of joy, and any negativity surrounding it will disappear.