PSA: Please reconsider a popular name for your baby

I liked the name Chloe before it was cool.

Hi, I’m Christine.  No, not that one.  No, not Kristy, or Krissy, or Christa.  Oh, yeah, that one’s a Christine too, but she goes by Tina now.  Fine, you can differentiate me by calling me Christine L.  May I introduce my husband Chris?  And his stepbrother Chris.  And my uncle Chris and his son Chris.  That guy over there?  He’s my husband’s office-mate, Chris.

Trust me (and my husband), it’s a pain to have a name that was popular the year you were born.  I actually like my name (and my mother chose it not knowing that it was going to be immensely popular that year), but being one of several kids with the same name in your class is a total drag.  Ironically, this year you’d be fine with Chris or Christine; just avoid Jacob and Sophia if you want to do your kids a favor.  Nevertheless, if you’re really devoted to that top 20 name, I suggest just taking the plunge instead of using a wacky alternative like Alixyveth (typing that made me cry).

Of course, you might find yourself in the same boat as my parents, accidentally picking a name that trends suddenly.  It’s not the end of the world.  But I urge you to check out names that rank below 20 or so – there are some beautiful names, whether classic or newfangled, that you might not have thought of.  And trust me, when your daughter is in homeroom with Emma C. Emma M., and Emma W., she will be happy to be the one and only Charlotte.

About Christine

I'm a full-time mother to two kids, an ex-lawyer, a breastfeeding counselor, a skeptic, and (to steal a phase from Penn & Teller) a "science cheerleader." You can reach me through my Facebook page.

Posted on May 14, 2012, in Parenting and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I couldn’t agree more! (says the mom of children with name in the Top 100 but well below the Top 20)

  2. Ah, yes. There’s a reason I’m Briar now–there were four other Leslies in my class, and that’s not even counting the Lesleys. I came to hate hearing it, whether it was in relation to me, or not. And I despised my mother just a little bit for not sticking up for her first name choice. I’d have been the only Kayla.

    I’m sure my kids will have lots to hate me for, but fortunately, it will never be because of the fifty eight people that share their names.

  3. I hated being Cindy so much I chose to be Chris.. and hating my name led me to be careful in choosing our grrls’ names.. We made up the second name and it still turned out to be really similar to a trend that happened at the time..

  4. Yes! I loved NOT sharing my name and didn’t want my kids to have to share, either. If you like the geeky approach, you can compare names against US census data for evidence that your baby name isn’t trending. (And you don’t have to go the census bureau to do it; Babynamewizard has the prettiest interactive graphics.)
    Even that didn’t guarantee success, though: at 4 years old, we’ve met several other 4yo girls in our city with the same nickname (different given names, at least) and after The Hunger Games, I think her middle name– Primrose– could see an uptick.

    On the other hand, my MIL disagrees with the value of uncommon names. She said she was glad to hear that all 5 of her kids’ names were in the top 5 the year they were born, as that’s how she know they were “good” names. In fact, son no. 1’s middle name was so good they reused it as son 4’s first name. It seems to work fine for that side of the family; all 6 other grandbabies have top-50 names.

  5. Amen! In a class of twenty kids there’d be atleast one other girl with my name, if not two. And sometimes we’d have the same last initial too…

  6. Or you could have what happened to us: a unique (family) name that happens to rhyme with many of the top names. Aidan, Brayden, Caiden, Jayden, etc., all sound pretty damn close to each other.

  7. No one ever had my name in school, Phaydra. And when I was younger my name seemed like such a problem for people to figure out how to say it when they saw it spelled. Ultimately at a young age I learned people are stupid if they can’t even remember the simple rule that ph makes the F sound. I love my name now and am thankful that my mom gave me a name that I will never ever share with another person since my last name is also unusual and a problem for people to pronounce, Babinchok. That last part is pronounced chalk not cock. Having an unusual name comes with a different set of problems than having a common name.

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