I think William Shakespeare said it best:
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by another name would smell as sweet.
I, like many other little girls, grew up thinking about what I would name my children one day. I also grew up hating my name and wishing I could change it because nobody else had my name. My mom loves to tell the story of when I was about 3 and the store cashier asked me what my name was and I confidently replied, “Martha.” In utter shock, with gritted teeth, my mom looked at me and said, “Tell her your name!” Again, I replied, “Martha (my mom loves to add a very whiny toddler voice to illustrate how utterly annoying and embarrassing that was).”
I have no idea why I chose Martha then, but I can vividly remember in grade school through middle school wanting to be a Jessica, Ashley or Candace (I loved Candace Cameron…Growing Pains anyone!?!?); just something more “normal” than Lane. There were never any mugs with my name on it at those awful touristy shops and I just felt like Lane was so out of the ordinary. Now that I am an adult, I can tell you I would NEVER want any other name. I LOVE that my name is different and unique and I thank my mom as often as I can for being bold enough to set my name apart.
However, now as a parent, I fully respect what a big deal it is to choose a name for your child. I had visions of the process being so fun and easy, when really, it was quite tough! To think that the name you choose for your child is going to stick with them his or her entire life is a major responsibility. So, if you are struggling a bit with the name game, here are some tips to make your decision maybe not easier, but hopefully a little bit clearer, or in the least give you some things to consider.
Many popular names that are trending now seem to be coming from celebrity, movie and unisex influences. If you are into popular names, you can check out name lists on many different baby websites and especially in the Pottery Barn Kids catalog. The Social Security Administration even offers the top ten lists for 2014 on their website.
Remember to think about and be sensitive to what the initials and monogram might look like with your chosen name. I know of a few friends growing up that loved their initials: Julie Ann McMillian was always so proud that hers spelled out JAM. I always thought that was pretty cool, too.
When it comes to monogramming, remember that it is printed with the initials in the order of first, last, middle. My friend’s sister had the name of Andrea Elizabeth Cox and her monogram spelled out ACE…to this day that is still her nickname.
Either way, initial or monogram, be careful. If you choose a name like, say, Ashley Samantha Struckman…it could lead to a bit of trouble!
To me, family names are the best. If you are into your lineage, choosing a name with a history behind it is the perfect way to honor your ancestors.
To start, ask for the family tree on both sides (mother and father). I asked for all the names, beginning, middle and last of my our aunts, uncles, grandparents and great grandparents both maternal and fraternal. This will give you a good jumping off point.
If you do choose a family name, it’s nice to ask the elders if they have any pictures of that person/people. I have these hanging in the our two nurseries and can’t wait to share the meaning and stories of their chosen names to our kiddos when they are old enough to appreciate it.
Test It Out-
Before our son was born and we were talking about names, we had nailed down the first name but were still conflicted on the middle name. We had a list of about three different combinations that we were playing with. One night, all of a sudden I hear my hubby yelling the name combinations as loud as he could in a stern voice. Confused, I asked, “What in the world are you doing?” He said, “I just wanted to hear what it will sound like when he gets in trouble and I have to yell out his whole name.” I was laughing so hard, but in all actuality, I thought it was a pretty smart idea.
My thought process was visualizing him at his high school/college graduation and hearing his name called out over the sound system. Quirky, but it helped us in choosing the right combination.
Make a List:
There is nothing worse than hearing a name or thinking of a great name combo and then forgetting it. Keep an ongoing name list on your phone whether you are dating, married, pregnant or a grandparent. You never know when you, or somebody will need a name suggestion.
Another great resource is the Names Daily Instagram account. This feed sends names of the day and also includes the meaning of said names. It’s so fun to see what other people are choosing for their kiddos.
How many names your child will have (I have some friends with 2 and others with 4)?
Which name will he or she go by (I actually go by my middle name and have since I was born)?
Consider nicknames and the meaning of the your chosen name are a few more things to think about when thinking about names for your child.
Many times your name is the first first impression others will have, so be sure to pick a good one!