You named your baby WHAT?!?

Scrabble Letters by Anna Langova




I feel like I need to get this off my chest.


Last week, I went to one of G’s activities and I was bouncing with joy.


“My best friend just had a baby last night!” I announced, “I can’t WAIT to get my hands on that little girl!”


There were smiles and nods and then one of the moms asked, “What did they name her?”


Fair question. I always love hearing names myself.


“Anna,” I answered.


She curled her upper lip, “Oh, I don’t like that name at all.” And then she turned back to her conversation.


Now… I’m not really interested in whether you like the name Anna or not. I’m sure some of you do and some of you don’t. That’s fine. I’m also not going to argue for its classic, timeless nature or explain how it’s a family name or yada yada yada…


All I really want to know is what YOU would have said in that situation.


I was a little flabbergasted. To be truthful, I’m not a big fan of the names this particular mom has chosen for her own kids, particularly her son. But you know what? It doesn’t matter. They’re not my kids. It’s not my job to name them, or to like their names, for that matter. She doesn’t need to know that I find the name slightly weak and effeminate. There is nothing gained by telling her that. That whole “if you don’t have something nice to say…” and all that, you know?


So… I was pretty speechless. But what would YOU have said?

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41 comments to You named your baby WHAT?!?

  • Heather

    Well….since I named MY daughter Anna, I would say I love the same. It’s classic and I could totally see her being a CEO, doctor, artist, ballerina or WHATEVER she wants to be. Her name will not hold her back. It’s not weak or effeminate, in my opinion. No one has ever questioned my daughter’s name choice in front of me because my strong, smart, adorable little girl fits the name perfectly! =)

    • I think Anna is a beautiful name! I never called it weak or effeminate (<– that would be an odd word to describe a girl’s name, anyhow.) It was Critical Mom’s kiddo who has an effeminate name, in my opinion. Maybe that was unclear?

      • I understood what you were saying. Her son’s name sounds weak and effeminate to you. She’s one of those judgmental, my-way-or-the-highway kind of moms, I bet!

        Who can dislike “Anna” anyway? It’s about as innocuous a name as you can get!

  • Heather

    It was a little unclear to me — I reread and see I read it wrong!!

  • Marcia

    I am struggling with this right now. We have chosen NOT to reveal the name for our little one (due any second now) simply because of all of the “helpful” input we got the first time around. (seriously, what’s wrong with Nora Elizabeth?) We have a set criteria for a name: 1. easy to spell and pronounce 2. something classic and timeless 3. there has to be a saint’s name in there somewhere. Anna is actually on our short list of names we will consider when we see our daughter for the first time.

    I too would have been completely taken aback at the other mother’s rudeness. In my normal, non hormonal state, I probably would have said nothing to her, but as of right now……Oh my goodness, I’m afraid I would have let her have it! Thankfully, you have more tact than I!

    • I giggled at the “helpful input.” It always cracks me up how people think you care if they went to high school with someone awful who had that name. ;) I like the name Nora Elizabeth! (This new baby Anna’s middle name is Elizabeth, actually.)

      I don’t know if I can attribute it to tact or the fear that if I opened my mouth, I’d let loose with what I really thought about HER kids’ names! ;)

  • Ellen

    I think you are right when you said, “it doesn’t matter, those are her kids her names!”

    I get crap all the time because I chose to change the spelling of my sons name, to not the normal..
    I have a Nickolas, instead of a Nicholas.

    My child my choice.

    I think people are not happy unless they have something to complain/say ect….

    • Absolutely! I agree with you. That’s my attitude about lots of things. My husband will tell you I frequently mutter “N.M.K.N.M.P.” which is my code for “not my kid, not my problem.” ;)

  • mlearley

    Funny you should bring this up b/c my sister-in-law just announced the name of their son to be born in June and my husband and I had to bite our tongues b/c we do not like the name. We waited until she was gone to talk about it. Needless to say, we’ll be calling him by his nickname (TJ). However, we have more respect than the lady for your daughter’s class apparently. Like Ellen said, it’s my kid so my choice. A few months ago we had a friend tell us that they don’t like how we choose to spell Katelyn’s name…I don’t get it, what’s wrong with it…looks pretty normal to me.

    Anyway, I think I would’ve just ignored her comment or maybe said “Oh I think it’s such a beautiful, strong name.”

    • Yeah, I muttered some brief defense, but it wasn’t particularly well thought-out or compelling. Not my smoothest moment! ;)

      Oh, we ALL have strong opinions about names, I think. We all have likes and dislikes and that’s good… otherwise, all these babies would share the same dozen or so names! Can you imagine?? ;)

  • Elizabeth

    I think it’s extremely rude to criticize someone’s name choice, even to a third party. Would she have curled her lip in the mother’s face, or in the face of the child herself? If not, then what she’s doing is essentially gossiping behind someone’s back. Why on earth say rude things and cast judgment? Now, I know I’m the pot calling the kettle black, because gossip and judgment are some of my biggest vices. But I don’t see any excuse for them, even when I mess up and slip into doing it myself. In any case, the “politics” of naming kids seems to have gotten out of hand these days. People seem to be hunting for more and more unique names, and sometimes that results in really attractive names, but sometimes the names just seem weird. However, I don’t think anyone should criticize a parent’s choice. It’s just a name. It can even be legally changed in later years. Let it go. ;) (BTW, my family has been through that – my little brother legally changed his name at age 16, with my parents’ blessing!)

    • That’s a good point, Elizabeth, about how a name can be changed, if later desired. I just was so shocked at her bluntness! Also, it kind of surprised me to hear someone openly criticize such a classic, long-standing name, I think.

      • Elizabeth

        It surprises me, too, to hear a classic name like Anna be criticized. To each her own I guess.

        Also, in re-reading my comment, I think I came off at more blunt than I had intended…I didn’t mean to sound judgmental of someone else being judgmental. I have a ways to go in my pot-and-kettle habits. ;)

  • Wow that seems really rude and then to just dismiss you… If I was her and not keeping my thoughts to myself (ha ha, the idea) I think I’d have been a but more “hmmm, doesn’t knock my socks off.” Although I guess I have reacted in the “omg that sucks!” fashion before.. But hey I named my kid Angus, so what do I know?
    Anna is a little blah in this day and age but certainly not gross. It’s surprises me if would illicit a lip curl reaction. It’s not Zanzibar for heaven’s sake.
    Now I really want to know what sissy name she gave her son. ;)

    • Well, I think it’s different if someone is saying to you, “OMG, did I tell you what Maria named her baby??” in a separate convo. I’m not saying it’s NICE. It’s not! But that’s different from, say, out-of-the-blue insulting the name someone chose… especially when I think it was clear that I DID like the name! :)

  • Carrie

    My mother is a foster parent and a year ago got a beautiful baby girl named Desiree placed in her care. I was talking to someone about the baby and the lady actually said “that’s unfortunate, she will end up a stripper with that name – can you change it?” … and she was dead serious. Like you, I was speechless. I just walked away. Still upsets me when I think about it.

  • Jennie

    I don’t not think fast on my feet so I would have been speechless. Honestly, I’m still a bit speechless. She was rude and flippant. In her defense, I’ve been rude and made those mistakes myself. Some of us have an easier time filtering than others.

    I don’t think there is really anything you could have said that didn’t sound rude back.

  • Lynn

    I agree with the other commenters. I think that’s it rude to tell someone what you think of their childrens’ picked names. We have no idea all the studying and research and steps it took to choose that name, for the child. They might hold that name in high regard because it is a name of a family member or friend who was someone really great or a hero in their eyes. It might be the most precious and sentimental name to them!

    Yeah… can you tell it happened to me. I had a “friend” tell me not to call my newborn son a certain name because she hated it. It reminded her of someone that picked on her in school when she was younger. I was so hurt. When she said that it was like she was saying “I hate your baby. His name makes him look ugly to me”. I know. Not so….but that’s how someone feels when you say you don’t like their child’s name. A name is a part of that person. I am sorry my friend had someone with that name that picked on her. But I gave it to my son because it was the name of my husband’s BEST friend and there is a lot more to it than that. My son is now 17 years old and VERY proud of his name. He’s old enough to understand the reason FULLY of why he was given that name. ; )

    Okay. Off my soap box now.

    • Lynn

      Oops. Just realized I didn’t answer your question.

      Once I got over the initial speechless mode, I told my friend why were were choosing that name and why it was important to us.

      She apologized. ; )

      • I am so glad that you followed up that conversation with your friend and she apologized– I might have held on to resentment about that for a long time. You were very wise to address it!

  • My husband and I are just not into unusual names, and there have been times I have wondered what someone was thinking when they named their child Stone. (Yes, someone I know.) BUT like you said, it’s not my child. I probably would have said to the lady, “It’s good she’s not your kid, then.” Because I let my snarky side get the best of me sometimes.

    I don’t know how anyone could dislike the name Anna (which would have been my top pick girl name for this baby), but I’m sure there are a ton of people who think our kids’ names are incredibly boring. I think they’re classic. Whatever. Not their kids. :)

    • That’s my go-to saying: NMKNMP (not my kid, not my problem)… and I wish more people would remember that, too. :) I love your children’s names, Jessie– classic names stand the test of time for a reason.

      (Maybe Stone’s mommy was a bit like me and harbored a secret crush on Stone Phillips from Dateline back when she was fourteen… *giggle*)

  • Seriously Lynn is gonna keep us hanging???

    Once upon a time I think I’d be super upset if someone hated my baby’s name. (how can you hate sweet little Reesie though?) When we chose Angus at first I was literally seized with anxiety to tell people his name. Then I realized that was utterly stupid and who gives a hoot if they like it? Gus is adorable so it will grow on people. 3 1/2 years later he’s a trendsetter! Gus babies everywhere!!! annoying name stealers!

  • It looks like I’m going to be in the minority here, but I don’t think it is that big of deal that she said she doesn’t like the name. People always have opinions about baby names and it is rare for people to resist expressing opinions. 😉

    If a relative would have been there then it would have been EXTREMLY rude.

    • Well, I will go on record as saying that if one of my children behaved that way? I’d be mortified. It’s rude, relative or not.

      Now, if I had said, “My friend named her baby Anna– isn’t that beautiful?” and she replied, “I don’t really like it”, that would be TOTALLY different. Her opinion would have been solicited by my question. But to just spew it out there? I don’t see any way of calling that anything but rude.

  • To each their own in my opinion. Picking the name is one of the most fun things about pregnancy..I think people will always find something to criticize you for. BUT I do have to tell you about the craziest name I have ever heard…my boys used to know a little girl named Cherrybomb. Not a nickname, that’s her actual name. I don’t know if she’s named after the John Mellencamp song or what…but I guess that’s where I draw the line. If someone names their baby something that is obviously going to be an issue the rest of their life, I will silently judge them in my head. But I’ll never say a word, because as I said, to each their own…and what difference does it make to say anything other than hurting feelings?

    • I would agree with you, Samantha, that we should exercise caution in giving children names that are very clearly going to cause issues all through life. That one falls under “common sense”, in my opinion, and, yes, I’d be feeling a bit judge-y in my head, too. ;)

  • Lori

    I like unusual names, my husband does not. So we usually find a compromise with the names we pick out. My middle baby is Mazee. Before she was born we had people call her Mazee mouse, because of a cartoon I’ve never heard of. It didn’t deter me. Another name I like for a boy is Kellan. It was one option for a boys name who is due in August. Some have said they would call him Helen…it just really makes me angry. We decided on Kalib because my husband likes it better. I may not like the names you pick out, but I won’t purposely make fun of your kid because of the name you chose, thats just rude in my opinion.

    • Beyond husband-wife debates and discussions, I guess I just don’t understand why others think their opinion should actually have any weight or value in the naming of children. Honestly, that’s such a personal thing and preferences vary so widely… and there’s just nothing wrong with that! :)

  • Laraba

    Sometimes people (and I am one of those people) do just blurt out something stupid though I think I wouldn’t say THAT particular stupid thing. Don’t get me wrong. It was really rude and irritating. However, I’ve occasionally blurted something rude and really regretted it later. I’m just glad your best friend wasn’t there to hear it!

    My name is almost completely unique here in the United States. It is from Africa and my parents had a dear friend named Laraba from their days in the Peace Corps in Nigeria. I’ve lived my life with people not knowing how to say my name. I’m not a particularly extroverted person but it doesn’t bother me that I have a very unusual name. My parents did give me “Jean” as a middle name so I could fall back on that if I got tired of Laraba, but I haven’t :-).

    I LOVE Anna, by the way. And she was such a wonderful person in the New Testament, worshipping the Lord and waiting for the Savior!

    If I wasn’t too stunned to speak after someone saying that, I would probably smile big and say, ‘Oh, I LOVE that name!’ but not say anything more.

  • Laraba

    Oh, the pastor who married us recommended we never tell ANYONE the name for our new baby until he/she was born to cut down on people criticizing it. If it is already on the birth certificate, we obviously are not going to change it so that may keep people from being grumpy about our choice. So we did just that, and no one has ever been negative to our face about any of our 8 kids. We did pick Biblical names, partly just to cut down on options. Seriously! As it was, it took us ’til the day before the birth to get one kid named. Or I should say, we had a name and my husband changed his mind the day before she was born :-).

    • Sounds like wise advice! :) I’m used to people being critical when the baby’s still in utero but, man, it takes some gall to insult the name of an already born sweet little girl, in my opinion!

  • alex

    One of my friends wants to name her boy Tiberius

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