Many moms never outgrow their childhood love for Princess names, particularly of the Disney variety—going back to Aurora in
Sleeping Beauty—which accounts for the tremendous popularity in recent years of Ariel (The Little Mermaid), Belle (Beauty and the Beast), and Jasmine (Aladdin). Dads might accept the names, but maybe not the princess association.
Unisex nickname names are hot hot hot, especially in Hollywood, where Denise Richards and Charlie Sheen and Tiger Woods have daughters named Sam and Rebecca Romijn and Julie Chen have girls called Charlie. Dads might tend to resent this name-napping of classic boys' nicknames.
Mainly it's the moms who studiously track celebrity naming trends and eagerly await the announcement of the latest star-baby moniker. So when several celebs—including Ethan Hawke and Claudia Schiffer—announced this vintage choice, it brought Clementine back to the table. But most dads would still remember the "Oh my darling" song, with her shoes that were number nine.
A number of younger moms are ardent Twilighters and particularly love the character names in the series, including
Bella, Edward, Emmett, Esmé, Cullen, and Jasper, with the result that all of them are catching on as baby names. To dads, Cullen sounds like a mispronunciation of Colin.
Moms more than dads like girls' names with an androgynous or even masculine feel, names whose gender ambiguity leads to a more level playing field when it comes to college and job applications, while most fathers like solid gender definition. Despite their objections, names like Harper, Sawyer, Bailey, and Riley are now high on the girls' list.
Moms love the Old Hollywood glamour of this name—as with Ava and Audrey and Sophia—and the fact that it has current celeb status via the children of Patricia Arquette, and Nicole Richie and Joel Madden, as well as the trendy upbeat o-sound ending. But to Dad, Harlow sounds too much like harlot.
Both moms and dads appreciate the spiritual qualities of "virtue" names, but while he might want to stick to the tried and true—Faith, Hope, and Grace—she could be willing to move beyond the obvious and consider reviving such other Puritan names as Honor, Mercy, Clarity, Amity, and Verity.
Women are much more inclined to treasure names from the books they loved as girls, and many are especially partial to the Little Women names. Josephine is a particular favorite, being the strongest, most independent March sister, with the great nickname Josie. Dads would tend to see Josephine as a frumpy old great-grandma name.
The Leonardo DiCaprio factor drew a lot of women to Leo, some liking its concentrated three-letter, two-vowel strength, others appreciating its New Age Zodiac reference. And what does dad think? He finds it hard to get away from the roar of Leo the Lion.
Moms who loved the touching book and movie Marley & Me have been flocking to this soft and gentle surname-name—there were over 2,100 girls named Marley last year. Dad might object to a Golden Lab namesake for his daughter, and prefer the manlier Harley.
Mothers are more daring when it comes to importing names from other ethnicities. To them, Pablo has rich cultural associations, to Picasso the painter and Casals the cellist. To Dad, it might be hard to reconcile the placing of Pablo, Padraig, or Philippe in tandem with an Anglo surname.
When it comes to flower names, it's the moms who are often more open to experimenting with exotic varieties. So while dad might be fine with Lily,
Rose, Daisy, and Violet, he might very well recoil in horror at suggestions like Poppy, Camellia, Lilac, Azalea, and Zinnia—all of which are starting to be cultivated more and more.