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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Baby Naming Issue: In-Law Influence

My mother-in-law has been visiting for the last 10 days, 4 hours, and 49 minutes, so I have been short on posting time. But a question occurred to me just now, and so I've crept away for a minute to ask you: How much input/influence did the in-laws have (or TRY to have) on your baby name choices?

31 comments:

Elizabeth said...

None whatsoever, but it might have helped that we refused to discuss the name with any of them ahead of time. NO MATTER WHAT. We noticed before I was even pregnant that when we mentioned names we liked to other people, they COULD NOT keep their mouths shut and could not help but give opinions. A few perfectly nice names were ruined ahead of time that way (My mother, on Patrick "Oh, no, it's TOO ethnic.????!!!!" So we didn't breathe a word of any names to anyone, even though it was obviously killing everyone who wanted to know.
And it also helped that we didn't have a firm name until after he was born.

Melospiza said...

I've been blessed with in-laws who are in no way as stubborn and outspoken as I am, so they didn't really stand a chance in the naming department. It helped that my husband was not particularly attached to any in-law-proffered names. I do remember a series of outlandish and "um, no" suggestions put forth by my MIL (the name of one my husband's ex-girlfriends? what? I think this was an unfortunate coincidence, not deliberate, though). I also remember the politely stunned silence when we told her the first and middle names we had chosen for our son. However, he was her first grandson--I think we could have named him Apple Banana and she would have loved the name because it was HIS.

Rayleen said...

None, but after we had our son she said his name sounded like a ballerina name. I don't think it was complimentary, even though she was jovial about it. I told her that so long as he was good at it he could be a ballerina if he wanted to. (Is there a term for a male ballerina?!)

Rayleen said...

Oops! My mother-in-law said it.

The Schwant Family said...

NONE.

clueless but hopeful mama said...

We asked both sets of grandparents-to-be for lists of family girl names in the hopes that something would jump out at us. Unfortunately there was Elfrieda and Gertrude and a whole lot of other names that just weren't working for us. No one said anything about "maybe Frida! or Trudie!" and there was not a peep when we told them their granddaughter's name.

Which is as it should be, I think.

salbilla said...

My mother-in-law liked to make horrible faces at our name suggestions - meanwhile suggesting that our son be named Valentin or Val. We didn't (and won't) listen.

shoeaddict said...

I have a situation that has been discussed and debated here many times. My husband's grandmother's last name (um, got that) is a name we would use for a boy. However, my sister in law has told me, and I quote, that she will NEVER speak to me again if we use the name.

By the way, she is unmarried and doesn't have a boyfriend. She has told me before that she doesn't even want to get married. Not that people are always married when they have kids, but...

It's not a big huge deal right now. I don't know if it ever will be.

bk said...

DH has an Irish last name, so we got a bunch of typical Irish name suggestions. DH has advised his mother that any and all suggestions she gives me are likely to be summarily rejected. :) Which is TOTALLY true.

- Kellie said...

With my first pg, my SIL (also pg) announced that they were having a boy and his name was going to be (relatively common 4-letter name for a boy for the first name, middle name that is ambiguous-gendered). Nobody liked the name but only MIL was bold enough to tell SIL this. We lost that baby at 21 weeks but did name him, and we didn't have time to ask for anyone's advice on names.

Second pg, we were at a family brunch and got to talking about names. PIL told us that our preferred name for a boy (which was our first son's middle name) was "ugly" and "sounded like a hick truck driver". In all honesty I'm sure that they didn't make the connection of us already having used the name but tell that to a pg woman! Then MIL handed us a list of biy names to consider. I took it, assuming it was going to be family names. Nope. Just names that they liked. I told my DH that we'd be sure to use it for any dogs that we own in the future.

Third pg was also a girl, as as with the second pg, once they found out we were having a girl, they weren't interested in discussing names anymore. They really only cared about boy names.

MamaHenClucks said...

ZERO!!! But we even if they had hated the names, they would never have said anything!

Simone said...

We're a few years away from having any kids, but when my BIL and his wife were expecting kid#2, my MIL said that she had always liked Raycene for a girl. It had a serious country twang the way she said it, so that's how it sounds in my head forevermore. My SIL and I looked at each other with an amused expression and I told her she was welcome to use it.

Also, it made us think of root beer. We're in Canada & there's french and english on all of our food:
root=racine
root beer=racinette (roughly anyway. the spellings may be off).

Aw. sweet baby RootBeer.
Yup. My in-laws will have zero input!

Heather said...

Absolutely none! As a matter of fact, my MIL tried to suggest a bunch of middle names because she didn't like the one we picked and they all immediately became my least favorite names in the entire world.

Fine For Now said...

Instead of it being my MIL, it was my actual Mother to tell me she HATED the name. My SIL said it sounded like an old lady. Recently my mother found out my fav name was used in our family tree and has began liking it, since it seems I'm not budging.

Eleanor Q. said...

So my MIL would drop a lot of not-so-subtle hints like "I would love it if someone *looking knowingly at me* would name their next girl C. after my aunt. Husband would say "what a great name" and I would "say "nope" at the same time.

My mother did give us some "suggestions" though I told her that she was free to suggest names, and that I was free to veto them.

I feel like its your child, you can name them whatever you think is the best name for them, regardless of what anyone else thinks.

beanski said...

my in-laws ruined the entire experience of naming my child by telling me the name was all wrong. people need to learn to keep their mouths shut.

Blueberry said...

when our son was born we weren't sure what to name him. we had it narrowed down to three. hubby went to eat with his parents and told them our three choices. his dad made the comment that he didn't care for the third choice. later that day we decided on the name (choice number three of course) hubby called his mom and when he told her the name she said "oh, so you let mommy pick the name." so apparently they didn't like the name and assumed their son didn't either! oh well, at least they didn't say it to my face!

Laura said...

Mom and MIL had no comments- the way it should be. Husbands grandmother said our baby doesn't have a REAL name because it's not in the bible. Our son is 18 months old and she refuses to call him by his name, but instead addresses him as Sugarball. He is free to address that as he pleases when he can finally speak.

Mommy Daisy said...

None, we didn't ask and they didn't offer. You know we never really discussed baby names with other people. I remember going through a baby name book with my mom when I was first pregnant, but I was still changing my mind so much at that point it didn't matter.

Anonymous said...

You know, my mother-in-law is an absolutely lovely woman and always finds something nice to say about her grandchildren's names. I really lucked out; she's a doll.

Every other member of our collective family needs a tall glass of STFU, unfortunately. Now that my husband and I have been married a year or so, whenever we all get together the baby questions are INSANE--especially considering we aren't yet trying. Sigh. My mother and sister are particularly bad, sending me emails with titles like, "Rates of Fertilization Drop in Women over 25" and my personal favorite, "Sorry but these names are just ugly with your last name." ARRGH.

On another note, I would love it if we could discuss favorite baby names that got rejected by significant others. I can't be the only one with this problem, right? I absolutely love the name Malcolm and have for a decade or so(there's a local writer with that name that I idolized growing up) but the husband refuses to discuss it. "We are not naming any children after Joss Whedon characters," is all he'll say on the subject. But if I were to crumble on River (for a boy) he'd disregard that rule in a second.

Love the site, Swistle! Hang in there, just a few more hours.

Bethtastic said...

We didn't even talk names with any of the grandparents. In fact they didn't even know we were trying for kids until we told them we were expecting. And, when we knew the sex (from an accurate ultrasound - and yes, I know sometimes they are wrong), we told everyone our kids' names. It's fun to talk to a belly using his/her name.

The only one who even said a word was my aunt...and she's obnoxious, so it was completey expected.

While I have bizarre (read backward) in-laws, my MIL really does keep to herself on everything. I hope I am as conscientious as a MIL myself! :)

Jodi said...

I have a good relationship with my mother-in-law, and she's (so far) had nothing but positive things to say about our name choices. Because of that, I do discuss names with her now and pay some attention to her opinions. I think she has good taste (I love my husband's and his siblings' names), and it would be a little sad for me at this point to choose a name that she really hated. Also, since my husband and his family are British, she helps me gauge how a name that sounds good to my American ear will come off to the UK contingent.

My mom and I talk about everything, including names, but I know our taste is very different, so I don't worry too much if she dislikes a name we're considering. I think she's a little jealous that I'm more concerned about pleasing my in-laws :)

R said...

Before we were even talking about trying to get pg my MIL would ask me if we would name a boy after my hubs (he is named after his grandfather and father - making him the "third") and always implied that she would like it if we did. My FIL however - did not even want hubs named after him - so he was against this. We lost MIL to cancer a year ago, and to honor her memory I suggested to hubs using Clay (her maiden name) for a boy.. which has been widely accepted - even by hubs' grandmother (who hubs thought might be offended if we didn't continue the tradition of naming the boy after the father)... that was the only input the In-laws offered... although they did help me out when I said if we have a girl I want her middle name to be Jean (my mom's and sister's middle name) as it was MIL's mother's middle name too...

I think I just rambled way too much - Pregnant Brain?? :)

jonniker said...

I meant to add this much earlier, but my husband is Jewish and has a tradition of naming children after deceased relatives. The big deceased relatives already have children named after them, so we're off the hook so far. However, my brother in law was not so lucky at all. He picked names he and his wife liked, then his parents (my in-laws) had a shit fit the size of Texas and it became a family brawl.

Really all they care about is the initial, but even an initial can be surprisingly limiting when the letter is P or B. I know they seem fraught with possibilities, but there are fewer than I ever expected.

Ashley said...

Neither of our parents had any say in the actual names. We didn't even share the names we were considering. We just told them her name once she was here.

But... my in-laws did influence the way that we named. It's traditional on their side of the family to name "after" people with initials. So, my daughter has initials KG with K being "after" my husband's mother and G being "after" my husband's father. If we have a second child, we hope to do the same with my parents' initials. So, in that way, they did influence our choices.

Anonymous said...

We knew there would be issues so we didn't even discuss it with the MIL. As I may have mentioned here before, we broke 'tradition' (Dh's culture, not mine) by not using MIL's name for my DD and thus MIL will not use DD's real name. She calls her "little girl" and has often expressed disgust at "that name" we chose. I shouldn't let it bother me as much as it does, but I think you choose your own children's names and that's it. She had her chance, these kids are mine and I'll name them whatever I want whether she approves or not.

Hillary said...

My MIL, who could teach a course on passive aggression, never said a word about baby names while we were debating. Then we told her our names -- Tenley Jayne for a girl; Rhys Owen for a boy -- and she said: "(silence; disgruntled sigh)Well, I won't tell you what I think of people who use funny spellings for their kids' names."

And that is why we just ignore her.

We ended up with a boy for whom Rhys Owen is a perfect fit.

bren j. said...

I think we asked for suggestions maybe once and didn't really get any. I don't why we even bothered asking. That was opening up quite a can of worms.

Katie said...

My MIL started pimping out HER name as a baby name the FIRST DAY SHE MET ME. I wasn't even officially dating her son yet.

It is Eleanor. I swear to God the first conversation we ever had was about how that name would be so cute and we could call her "Ellie."

Sorry. Needless to say. We never used that name.

Although, I would have used it as a middle name is hubby had agreed to my first choice of first names that would have been after my mom. But he didn't. So therefore no one got their name used!!

Pocket said...

My cousin just had the first grandbaby of the family. Once she announced her name choices, my grandmother and all the aunts called her weekly to say "Are you SURE you want to name him N?" or "How about William/Joshua/boring name?" My poor cousin had to repeat herself ten times at Christmas..."His name is N!" After watching her and her husband go through that, we decided we most certainly are NOT telling the family the baby's name until it's born. I'm actually fantasizing about the day I can hand my Mom her grandson in the hospital and say "Mom, I'd like you to meet ___________." I just know she won't care a lick about what his name is then!

Anonymous said...

Absolutely none. We refused to divulge our chosen names for our children prior to their births. We avoided talking about names with them as much as possible, so as not to be *negatively* influenced. My husband is named for his father (though not a Jr.) even though he was their 2nd son. We had a son, then while pregnant with our 2nd child, not knowing the gender...I think there was some level of expectation that we too would name a 2nd son that name. Nope, we wouldn't have. It never was an issue though, as we went on to have more children, but not more sons.