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What's in a Name?

Written by sarah pollak


Posted on October 19 2017

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet."

Naming your baby is a major topic of conversation here at Mom's the Word.  From your first foray into maternity clothes, the Name Game is one of the first trials of parenthood! And, what is in a name?  How many people do you know who love their name?  Hate their name?  Have changed their name? The Social Security Administration has released their list of most popular names from 2016. 

And, once again, for the umpteenth time, parents everywhere will react.  My reaction? For once my first born isn't in the top 10.  He's still in the top 20.  And my younger son just barely makes the top 100 coming in at 98.  We went with family names in the end, so, there was that.  And both of their names have more than one nickname possibility. And, they both seem to be managing fine. 

I also hereby forgive myself for doing to him what my parents did to me.  I have a name that I share with: one cousin, one mother-in-law, one sister-in-law, and my wife. Yes, that's four in my not-very- extended family.  Not to mention countless friends, starting in kindergarten with my BFF at 5, Sarah Alexander, continuing through college-Sara Murphy.

Naming your baby feels soooo important.  And it is.  Sort of. They can always change it when they come of age.  

Of the twelve people working at Mom's the Word eight go by their given name. 30% go by a nickname or their middle name.  25% have names not found in baby name books.    Our very favorite website and book for the baby name game is the Baby Name Wizard.  We're all about the graphs in this book, and so are the spouses who wait patiently for hours while their beloved tries on clothes. And the darker the shade the more popular per million.    Go ahead, get sucked in.  


Teaching children to not fear judgment or judge others is an enormous gift. So, pick the name that you like, it's all gonna be okay.  This is just one of many decisions that you will make as a parent.  And it's not even the most important one.  

Not that this isn't probably plastered on Google and every other homepage, but, here's the top 10 list for 2016 :

1 Sophia Jackson
2 Emma Aiden
3 Olivia Lucas
4 Ava Liam
5 Mia Noah
6 Isabella Ethan
7 Riley Mason
8 Aria Caden
9 Zoe Oliver
10 Charlotte


(I personally loved the name Jackson, but, our last name is Pollak, so, yeah, there are some things that I chose not to do.) 

A colleague of mine when I was pregnant with my first, used to play the game like this: "Paging Dr. insert name here", "Next up to bat, insert name here" "...Secretary of State, insert name here, reported..." People, when I tell them my kids' names-Alexander and Harrison- often say "Oh, how presidential!".  Yeah, or "Al and Harry's Towing". Either way, it's all good. Even if they change their names.

Their names are not their destiny.



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