Forget Shakespeare, you know what’s in most names? A lot, actually.
A lot of time spent thinking about the choices; a lot of consideration given to the assumed opinions of friends and family, honoring individuals, remembering family members, monograms, nicknames, abbreviated versions, how it sounds when read out loud in class or at awards ceremonies (hey, we can dream, right?), how it sounds when shouted in a reprimanding tone or in moments of sheer desperation, the possible ways people could make fun of the name or celebrate the name.
We parents don’t just pick these things out of thin air (for the most part).
This is why I find it impossible to share my potential baby names, even if they’re only potential names, with other people. Mainly because people can be total idiots sometimes.
Don’t believe me? Well, it’s true. People forget about all of thoughtful time and effort you’ve put into choosing a name and tend to make the most horrible of errors when you share your choice prior to your baby being born … they give you their *gasp* honest opinion.
I’m not sure if it’s because they think there is still time and room for evaluation and improvement, since the baby isn’t born yet, or if they just lack the social graces of tact and name decorum (yes, let’s pretend that’s a thing).
But whatever the case, in my experience, many people lack the ability to keep their true thoughts to themselves when they hear the name you’ve chosen for your unborn child.
I’ve been on the receiving end of the full gamut … everything from “eesh, don’t love it,” to anecdotes of people that share the name, horror stories of bullies or brats with the same name, objections to the spelling, and/or gender neutrality of the name, and questions of whether it is a “family name.”
For those unfamiliar with that term, when someone asks, “Oh, is that a family name?” they are really saying, “That one’s a little too weird for my liking, give me a good excuse why you would use it.” I don’t have to excuse my name to you. I don’t even have to explain it, although I probably will because, as I said, a lot of time and effort went into choosing it.
The best option, and for me the only option, is to keep your choice under wraps until the birth announcement. This way the people understand that hey, the kid’s here, it’s a done deal, no more debating, no alternate suggestions, we’ve locked it in, no lifelines, final answer, moving on.
Of course, the family name question may still come up. Even though the number has dwindled, stories and antidotes about fellow “Roberinos” or “Cements” will also be told. But what can you do? People don’t always get it.
Naming a baby is tough and not everyone is happy with the results. Parents sometimes regret their choices and kids often hate the results, but we all have names and we all get by. Adding to the drama unnecessarily, as some opinionators do, is just plain silly.
Some people want to share their names ahead of time, and they should be able to do so without fear of threat or negativity. So unless a parent-to-be has specifically asked for your explicit, unadulterated opinion on the name, it’s probably best to go with one of the following responses:
“I love that name”
Or at the very least, “Nice.”
Anything in the realm of “Interesting” (when coupled with a furrowed brow and visibly confused face), “How did you come up with that?” “Yikes,” or “I once knew a Mark and he was such a d!ck” will not and should not be allowed.
In the end, we’re still going to go with the name we like best, but we will remember that you don’t care for it.
In fact, maybe we should thank you for your brutal honesty. You’ve actually helped us narrow the pool, since we will now be ruling your name out for any future kids we have.