As a millennial mom there are so many names I can choose for my children! Different newspapers and magazines keep telling us that my generation of moms (women aged 17-37) are naming their children unconventional names. I have been to play groups where my daughter was playing with Blake, Blaine, Ridley and Arwen. I want to be a cool mom, but somehow, I’m drawn to more historical or conventional names. How about you? Are you more likely to name your daughter Katniss Evergreen or Anne Shirley?
When I was pregnant with my daughter we wanted a name that reflected our hopes for her future. We heard a sermon on Lydia the business woman of Acts 16 who also lead her town in worship. We thought what an amazing multi-talented woman. Who can run a business, a family and a church successfully? That is a feminist ideal! But then we found out that people spell Lydia different ways, Lidia, Lidya, etc. Not wanting to correct people for the next three decades, we moved on.
Next we liked Hadassah, the Hebrew name of a woman also know as Queen Esther. She saved the Jewish people from destruction during the rule of the Persians. What an amazing hero! Given my husband’s Jewish heritage, he loved the name. Around the same time we heard of an Orthodox rabbi who had named his daughter Hadassah and called her Haddie. What a cute nickname! Yet for some reason the double ss’ kept throwing us off. Neither one of us spelled the name the same way twice. I’m sure eventually we would have gotten it right, but if we were having trouble would her teachers have the same problem in the decades to come?
Finally we looked to South American names. My family is from Latin America and we liked the idea of giving her a name that was easily pronounceable by my Spanish speaking relatives. Xiomara was a favorite of mine, because the nickname could be XO (hugs and kisses) however it was out because my husband thought the woman on Jane the Virgin wasn’t as great a role model as Lydia or Hadassah. Consuelo was out because my husband pronounced it too much like a gringo and knew it. Elena (a family name) was out because I didn’t like the magic in the cartoon Disney recently produced. In the end, we went with Alexandra. It is the feminine version of his middle name (Alexander) and it is easily pronounceable by people all over the globe.
Of course now that we are expecting my son the name game has started all over again. I like Maximiliano or Andres but my husband likes Joe or Charlie. What do you think? Should we try to live up to the millennial expectation and name our child an exciting frontier name like Colorado Valley or Winter Wall? Or how about a Hollywood name like Gibson, Scorsese, Spielberg or Cameron?
Here are 3 handy guides we used when choosing names for our children:
1. Will it look ridiculous on a sign?
- Dr. Alexandra looks a lot better than Dr. XO (especially when you read XO as hug and kiss)
2. Can our family pronounce it without confusion?
- In Spanish the name Cameron sounds a lot like Camaron (shrimp). And while Colorado won’t be a problem, Valley would be pronounced “Vayey” which sounds an awful lot like “vaya” or “go away” and who wants to make their child constantly feel like they should go way?
3. Can our child carry this name into adulthood?
- Will my son at 40 like to be called Winter?