I’m not sure if you will have time to answer my question. My husband and I are not currently expecting a child, but we are planning on starting a family soon, and since we have different naming styles, I wanted to have a pretty firm list so that we do not have naming wars when I am pregnant and irrational. I have loved names for so long, and I assumed that naming would be easy, but….not so much.
These were our original rules:
1. Nothing overly-trendy (e.g. Brayden, Brayleigh, etc)
2. One common spelling (No Kaitlyn/Katelyn,etc)
3. No made-up names
4. A name with history, but not too boring
Here are my two problems:
1. My husband’s shortlist of names are very country/cowboy style (Ralan, Clay, Harland, Harley, etc.,) and mine are all Vintage/Biblical (Jeremiah, Oliver, Josephine, Theodora, etc)
2. The names we both like break the rules! So far, we both like Jackson and Callan for boys (-en endings, very trendy) and for girls, we like Juliana, Juliet, and Emilia (trendy-ish and multiple spellings).
Do I throw out the rules or the names list? Is it ok to have trendier boy’s names and more vintage girl’s names? Also, do you have any name suggestions that fit our parameters?
For middle names, we have a few family names we would like to use (Eugene, Renee, and possibly Augusta), but past that, I am struggling to come up with names that feel “right.” Our last name rhymes with Bedford (with an M), so my only concern with that is avoiding words like JAM, DAM, etc.
Sorry this was so long!!
I suggest changing the Rules List into a Preferences List. Each name can then be weighed against your preferences, but if a name fails to meet one or more preferences it doesn’t have to be removed from consideration: you’d just move on to considering whether you like the name enough to use it anyway. The preference list can be used to narrow things down, or it can be used to measure the strength of your feelings for a name: “I love it so much I don’t even care about the preferences,” or “I just don’t love it enough to give up that preference.” The preference list can also be used to gently argue against the other parent’s suggestions: “Well, but we agreed we didn’t want anything made-up.”
As you work with your name lists, you may find you want to remove a preference entirely. It’s very common for parents to enter the naming process thinking they want one kind of name, or liking a certain type of name in theory, and then realize that’s not what they want after all. This is another reason I like the idea of preferences rather than rules: it’s psychologically easier to remove a preference than to remove a rule. You may also find you each have your own preference list, and that may help with your discussions: “What about this name? It meets your preference for something friendly/cowboy, but also meets my preference for something traditional/classic.”
Yes, it’s absolutely okay to have trendier boy names and vintage girl names; it’s pretty common for parents to have different styles for boy names and girl names. The only time it bugs me is when parents choose solid traditional serious dignified names for their sons and lightweight cutesy names for their daughters, or when parents make name decisions that assume their sons will keep their full names permanently but their daughters will need room for their husbands’ names—but neither of those cases are what we’re talking about here.
I think it might be helpful to have a discussion about the word “trendy” and what it means to each of you. Some people use it to mean common/popular; others use it to mean a name that may end up very tied to a particular decade, because of the way it came suddenly into style and seems poised to depart just as suddenly. Because the word trendy tends to be used in a derogatory way, you may find it easier to weigh names against your preferences if you come up with a few different words to cover the various aspects of trendiness: “common,” “in style,” even “on-trend” has more of a descriptive rather than negative feel. You may decide, for example, that you’d prefer to avoid common names, but don’t mind names that are in style; or that you don’t mind a name that’s common as long as it’s classic/traditional rather than modern/invented.
If I may answer a question you didn’t ask, I will say that although I think it’s valuable to think about and discuss these things ahead of time, I don’t think you need to settle this before getting pregnant. I remember being queasy and weepy while pregnant, and okay, fine, once I flipped over a (small) dining room table—but I was definitely up to the task of working on names. It gave me something fun and pleasant to do during the long uncomfortable wait of pregnancy, and I also found my opinions on names sharpened and changed when there was an actual baby on the way.