Naming your kid is a pretty serious deal; but it seems we’re all divided into separate camps when it comes to how exactly we decide on the perfect moniker. There are those of us who carefully browse the baby naming books for months before settling on one, and those who look for inspiration in everything from fruit bowls to Twitter hashtags. And then there are those of us who wait until the last possible moment — when we’re tiredly squinting at our wailing newborn baby under the fluorescent lights of the hospital nursery — to finally choose the name their child will carry with them for life.
But according to a recent survey, no matter how we come to land on a name, it seems that a decent amount of us will wind up wishing we could have a do-over. That’s right — a survey by a group called Mumsnet found that one in five British moms will end up regretting the name she gave her baby.
The most lamented names include Charlotte, Amelia, Anne, Daniel, Jacob, James, and Thomas, with 12 percent of those surveyed saying they “always knew it was the wrong choice,” while it took 8% “a couple of days” after the baby’s birthday to realize the error of their ways. For another 23%, they didn’t start their regrets came later, once their kid started nursery school along with a million others with the same name. (Raise your hand if there are currently six girls named Lily and 14 Jacks in your kid’s class?)
Sure, there are parents who painstakingly choose unique names, only to have them turn into … well, not-so-unique names down the road. In other words: Think Elsa, Isis, Siri, or Katrina 10 years ago, before their names came to be associated with things way beyond their control.
But believe it or not, the survey found that the biggest naming regrets of all came from parents who realized their child’s unique moniker was hardly unique at all.
As Mumsnet founder Justin Roberts told the Guardian:
“Choosing your baby’s name is one of the first things new parents do, so in some ways baby name regret is great practice for parenting: you do a lot of hard work and research, try to please several people at once, and end up getting it wrong. The consolation is that most children grow into their names — and those who don’t can always fall back on middle names, nicknames or (in extremis) deed polls.”
Still, not every Charlotte has the good fortune to revert to Cha Cha when the going gets rough. For example, if your name is, say, North West, Pilot Inspektor, Fifi Trixibelle, Sage Moonblood, or Moxie Crimefighter, you may as well get a bodyguard now or just accept your life was ruined because your parents just had to outdo the other moms and dads in their Lamaze class.
Some of the parents surveyed also felt bad their child’s name didn’t have a good enough nickname, while a few were mortified when their kid turned out to have the same name as a major celeb kid. Another 6% of parents ended up actually changing their children’s name altogether, while one in three considered it but never took the legal steps to change it.
It would seem that the first bit of control a parent can have over their kid’s future is in the very choosing of the name itself. So why wouldn‘t moms- and dads-to-be spend those anxious nine months or so taking bad nicknames, possible trends, and fruity puns into consideration?
At the end of the day, though, it’s yet another thing that boils down to chance — at some point, you just have to pull the trigger, and hope your kid doesn’t hate you for it later. (And if they do? Oh, don’t worry; it’s just one more thing to add to the list.)More On