Moms Share Tips for Picking Out Your Child’s Name

Ask a mother if she has an opinion on baby names, and you’re sure to get an answer!

A dear friend of mine just gave birth to her first baby – a healthy and handsome baby boy, if you’re wondering – and it got me thinking…how do you pick a name that lasts a lifetime?

I asked some of my favorite mothers out in cyberspace to share their Tips, Tried and True Methods, as well as their Pet Peeves when it comes to NAMING THAT BABY!

Let’s just say, they had plenty talk about.

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The DO’s and DON’Ts of Naming Your Baby

Julie Glover  Tip #1: Check with teachers. They know from experience what children can and can’t do with a name!

Tip #2: Check your initial combo. We suddenly had an AHA moment of “Hey, if we give our kid that middle name, his initials will be B.S.” Not good.

Another tip!  Mirror Ernest Hemingway’s “Write drunk, edit sober”…”Conceive drunk, name sober.”

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  Diana Beebe  No matter how much you avoid family names, you’ll manage to hit some obscure great aunt or twelfth cousin twice removed.

HAVE FUN! We made up crazy names that we’d never use. Phoebe Beebe and Daisy Beebe were our favorites.

The Sears catalog is not a good place to name pick. Pajama is not a name. It is clothing.

Kristen Lamb  My mom had a patient named Shithead. I KID YOU NOT. Pronounced shi-thay-ed. A combo of Shirley and Theodore. Baby Name FAIL.—

Diana Beebe  I know that kid!

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  Misty Laws  The hubs and I made a list of names we liked and tried to match them up. We did not have one of the same, but that’s besides the point.

Do not name your child after a car (Chevette, Acura), an alcohol (Bacardi, Korbel) or a country/continent (Europa, Africa, Germany). All of these are REAL names. Sadness.

Also, don’t try to name all of your kids with some variation of the parents names. Dad=Robert. Kids=Roberta, Robertina, Robina, Robette. Not as clever as you think.

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  Kristen Lamb  Don’t be clever with the spelling. JUST SPELL IT, for GOD’s SAKE!  “Hi, my name is Khrystyn.”

Hollyweird takes the cake sometimes. Apple is a FRUIT, not a name. “I’m naming my next child Velveeta Nacho, because that’s what I ate the whole time I was preggo.”

I had a cop friend who pulled over a lady and her name seriously was Aqua Net.

Misty Laws I know a professional woman (a lawyer) whose name is Aquanetta. Seriously!—

Kristen Lamb  North West *coughNo anagram names. DO NOT name your kid TACO CAT!

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Myndi Shafer  We wanted our names to be different, but to have strong meanings. Wanted them to be able to have nicknames if that was fitting for them. Middle names were just as important as first names, so if they wanted to ditch being called by their first name they could.

We chose not to be afraid of schoolyard teasing – kids can twist any name into something cruel. We’ve always focused instead on instilling pride in their names and their meanings. So far, so good.

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Marcia Richards   Marcia Richards  I chose (not intentionally) THE most popular names at the time for my kids. Jennifer and Matthew. Needless to say they hate their names. LOL

Kelly Witkins  My siblings and I have the most common names for the years we were born. My parents have unique names and didn’t want us to have that. My children love being the only ones with their names in their schools. Each is spelled normally and pronounceable. However, at a young age our daughter learned to enunciate and say her name slowly since many hadn’t heard it before.—

Julie Glover  My kids don’t have middle names. They have initials only. It was a compromise with my husband who thinks that middle names are rather pointless. Yes, that’s weird. But it has not caused them any problems so far. In fact, they think it’s cool.—

Diana Beebe  My older daughter picked the name of her little sister (from a short list). She picked the name of her dance teacher.—

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Kelly Witkins (the author’s sister-in-law)  Having meaning in their names is important. Our daughter is named after my aunt, the oldest girl in her family, who passed away when I was 17. I didn’t want to take her name itself, that is for her own children to use. But, my daughter is the first in her generation and it carried on the meaning. We used the gaelic version of my aunts name. Her middle name is after a sacred herb that we loved and learned about on a trip together.

Our son’s name came from places we’ve been together. Important milestones in our lives as a couple. His middle names are after his great grandfather and my dear cousin who passed away when I was 16 and his other middle name is my maiden name.

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  Dawn Sticklen  Both my boys are adopted from Russia and for our youngest we took his Russian name, “Americanized” it, and used it as his middle name (his first name comes from my husband’s uncle). For our youngest daughter – who medically probably shouldn’t have happened – we chose our OB’s last name as her middle name (his name is “Lacey”, so it fits).

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Jenny Hansen   Jenny Hansen  We named our daughter after my mother and were very specific about it. We used a derivative. We also wanted her middle initial to begin with ‘M’ for mom.

Do NOT name your kids after drugs, STDs or use suggestive initials (like BJ). My brother named his youngest “Reagan” with purposeful initials — RNC — for the Republican National Committee he adores. And he doesn’t give a rip if it offends, but if she grows up to be liberal, she might.  😉

Jess Witkins  Wanda Sykes had a joke about people naming their babies strange names “Now the first one was Chandelier…and the other one was Chlamydia?”—

Julie Glover  Oh my goodness! You can’t name your child after an STD!!!—

Kristen Lamb  Gonorrhea!—

Julie Glover  And our fourth child, Herpes…—

Diana Beebe  *giggling*—

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  Tameri Etherton  My daughter was supposed to be Cira Maria. Cira (pronounced Keera), because I don’t know, I guess I just liked it way back then. Now, it totally bugs me. Her middle name was going to be Marie, which was her Godmother’s middle name. About a minute after she was born, the nurse asked me her name. I looked at her sweet little face, with her rosebud lips, and said, ‘Alexzandra Rose’. Everyone in the room looked at me like I’d grown tulips out of my ears. I guess Alexzandra chose her own name.

My son… well we went around and around on names. I wanted to name him after my father-in-law, Monte Cleve Etherton III, but he said no freaking way. I’m pretty sure he didn’t say ‘freaking.’  😛  So one day Alexzandra is like, “There’s a boy in my class who is really nice named Michael. We should call the baby Michael.” I loved that she picked his name, so we went with Michael. My husband’s middle name is Christopher, so I still got Monte’s initials with the MCE!

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  Nina Badzin  We like names that connect to our heritage, but there were no exact rules to it. I also like names that work well with the last name and function together as a family.

However, I don’t like when all the siblings start with the first letter. It’s unnecessarily confusing.

Diana Beebe  LOL. That was us…Doug, Dennis, Diana, and Debbie. At least we had different middle initials.—

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We could go on and on, but we want to hear from YOU!  

Our moms also compiled a list of some of the most dreadful and outlandish names they’ve come across in real life! Share the names you’ve encountered in the comments!

Images courtesy Mrs Inman - flickr Creative Commons

Images courtesy Mrs Inman – flickr Creative Commons

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39 responses

  1. I think you captured the informative and hilarious aspect of that conversation quite well, Jess! Great post.

    I will also add . . . don’t rhyme all of your kids names (was that up there? I might have missed it). It’s not cute.

    1. Misty I loved all your comments! Hilariously smart advice!

      You’re lucky nothing rhymes with Misty.

      1. Ha! Yeah, I don’t remember any rhyming. I do remember this one:

        “It’s too MISTY out to drive!”

        I have no idea why this was a taunt or why they would say it to me. Apparently, my tormentors were not that bright (although, at least they knew what the word MEANT).

        Later, I would get Misty of Chincoteague.

  2. This read very interesting here; it sounds like we were just throwing out weird quips, but they were all in the conversational context of how to name your child! LOL. There is some great advice here, though.

    Almost as a summary of all of this, the best advice is for parents to really think it through. How will you feel about this name not just on a baby, but on a fifteen year old, a thirty-five year old, etc.? What special challenges or benefits does this name impart? What meaning will this name have for us and for our child in the short-term and the long-term?

    And by the way, I like the name Jess. It sounds like a fifth sister from Little Women, the beautiful and hilarious one we never got to meet.

    1. Yes! I forgot to mention that. My name is Misty. Given, birth name. My parents were not thinking of what that would mean for a professional adult. They just thought it was an adorable name for a little girl. As a lawyer, I don’t really exude professionalism with that name. But if I ever decide to change careers and go into exotic dancing or adult movies, I am all set! 😉

      1. You’d be a GREAT brony!

    2. Julie, that compliment is why I LOVE you to death! You just made me a March sister! Want to start our own Pickwick Society?

    3. That’s great advice, Julie. Kids have to grow up (and old) with their name, and having a name that grows with them is important. I somehow can’t see Shadynasty at the nursing home for some reason…

  3. This is awesome!!! For both of my kids I poured over the baby name book, I didn’t realize how many boys names have to do with fighting and or weapons! We didn’t name my son until the next day.
    Also a personal pet peeve I hate nicknames, just name the kid what your going to call it. Seriously if I named my child Vincent- I would have called him Vincent, not Vin or Vinny, Vincent.
    My mom and her sisters were all named the ‘nickname’ example, my mom was Becky- not Rebeca and called Becky, just Becky. I like that. There is power in names.
    I will say working with kids in Child Protective Services I have seen some pretty odd names. Here’s one instead of calling the kid (dad’s name) jr. The kid was baby(dads names) Only time I have shortened a name I refused to put the baby in front of it. GUH.

    1. Lol. Baby name… Yah I could see breaking the rules for that instance.

  4. Ha! What a cool idea for a post! My hub has been coming home with some doozies lately – he works in an elementary school. The latest was Cincere Lee. …Yup.

    1. Oh come on now, Jules. You know very well that they pronounce that child’s name as “Sin-sir-ray!”

      (And yes, apparently I am going to comment on every person’s comments today, Jess. Sorry!).

    2. Wow. I may have you beat. Shadynasty…pronounced Shuh-dynasty.

  5. This is a great post. May I steal your idea?

    There’s a lovely lady I used to know from Syria whose name is Jihad. How unfortunate is that one in America? And she couldn’t be further from the terrorist connotations it evokes.

    I always recommend that parents not name their children after foods or alcoholic beverages. Makes their cravings sound out of control.

    1. Lol. Like Kristen’s made up kid…Velveeta Nacho!

  6. When my mom was born, my grandma, despite having a name already picked out for her, took one look at her and said “She’s a Gigi!” Ever since that moment- to this very day- my mom has went by Gigi! Hardly ever using her given name, Marjorie.

    1. Aww I love that name. Never met a Gigi I didn’t like.

  7. What a hoot! I struggled with our kids’ names. My husband just wanted our son’s middle name to be James, after his late father. Understandable, right? My problem was that I liked Jesse for a first name, but Jesse James? A little gunslinger in Pampers! We decided not to go that route. For our daughter, I couldn’t think of a first name to save myself, but knew that I wanted her middle name to be my grandma’s first name. Those family connections are very important, and I think it’s a honor to name your child after a beloved relative. Grandma was thrilled with Emily Bernice. For some reason, my grandma pronounced her name with the accent on the first syllable – go figure, but she was thrilled with the news. I guess it set her ticker out of whack for a couple days, she was so excited. 🙂 Fun topic, Jess!

    1. How interesting that you knew the middle names right away. I agree that family names are such an honor. I’m sure both James and Bernice were over the moon your kids carry on their namesake! My middle name is the same as my mom’s first name. 🙂

  8. Totally fantastic post. Thanks for including me!

    1. Thanks for sharing your tips Myndi!!!

  9. What’s scary is I think all of us were sober while having this conversation, LOL.

    1. Just following Hemingway’s advice like Julie said! LOL

  10. Jess, thanks for starting that conversation and for including me. You summed it up so nicely. Great fun!

    1. Can you imagine if your family and mine got together? All those J’s and D’s in one room! It’d be anarchy!

  11. And I didn’t even get the chance during the conversation to tell you about my mom’s co-worker who named her daughter “Precious Beautiful Williams.” Nice, huh?

    Great post, and now I have to call my cousins: Amanda, Amber, Audra and Alyssa. 😀 (I’m not joking.)

    There were also my pals who are twins from an Irish-Italian Catholic family — all the gals had derivatives of Mary in their names and all the boys had some form of Joseph: Mary Catherine, Bridgette Maureen, Margaret Mary, Catherine Mary, Brian Joseph, Joseph William and Robert Giuseppe. Nice, huh?

    1. *Bangs head on desk* WHY???

      I thought of you ladies today when I was watching the Oktoberfest Parade. One of the marching bands is the Gale-Ettrich-Trempeleau High School. G-E-T. They’re a school called GET High! #HeadDesk

      1. Boy somebody should have planned that one out a little better!

  12. This was one of the most hilarious and entertaining conversations I’ve had lately! I kept checking back to see if something new popped up (and my phone forgot to tell me). Except for the part where I mistakenly made Diana’s daughter a son, that part wasn’t funny. But the rest was!

    I have to say, though, that I do like the naming kids with the same letter. Call me crazy, but I think it’s cute. And yeah, I like it when people take family pictures at the beach all in white shirts with jeans. I guess I never really left the 80’s…

    Thanks for including me! I love how you pieced together all of our wacky antics here in one place. You’re way too much fun and I wish you lived closer.

    1. I thought it was hilarious when you made her a boy! 🙂 At least her middle name is girlie, if she ever wants to use it instead.

    2. If I lived closer to any one of you ladies, I’d never get a THING done!! But we sure would have good times!

      Hey Tameri, remember this one…”He he!”

      1. Yes! It’s so true, we’d be laughing too hard to get anything done.

        Human on top, shark on the bottom. Jus’ sayin’.

  13. I dunno, I kind of like Chevette Bacardi. Probably because my first car was a Chevette, and I drink Bacardi. It would make a great character name for a novel. Hmm…

    When I worked at Brookstone, my coworkers and I used to “collect” a list of the craziest names we came across (people would fill out a form for a catalog). Some of those names were hilarious. Alas, that was 20+ years ago, and the list is long gone. Just trust me when I say, they were great!

    1. Details, Mark, we need details! Was there a Subaru Schmirnoff? A Mini Van Mad Dog?

      We need to know these things!

  14. […] Moms Share Tips for Picking Out Your Child’s Name (jesswitkins.wordpress.com) […]

  15. […] Moms Share Tips for Picking Out Your Child’s Name (jesswitkins.wordpress.com) […]

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