I find myself in a situation that is likely not terribly unique, but difficult nonetheless. I was due three days ago with our first child, a little boy. He has yet to grace us with his presence, but know the moment is right around the corner. We are truly excited and ready to meet our little man, with the exception of one minor detail: his name. My husband and I have a last name that I find slightly difficult to work with. Peppers. We had decided on the name Everett back in February when we learned I was carrying a son, but met instant disapproval from my mother. In hindsight, we wish we would have kept our decision a secret, but at the time couldn't really imagine the announcement being greeted by anything other than excitement. We have been sorely mistaken. She has repeatedly campaigned against it from the first moment of sharing. I thought that putting my foot down and telling her the decision was final would stop the remarks, but it didn't work. It's as if there was one most terrible, wretched name possible and we have chosen it. I sought wisdom and spoke at length with my husband and we decided that we had the power to change the situation by changing our choice in name. We worked on a short list which included: Owen, Harrison, William, Augustine, Christian, Zachary, Hudson, and Hunter. None of these names just completely grabs us. And we're now very conflicted about Everett. I really thought I liked it but there are a lot of hurt feelings mixed up with it at this point, and to make matters worse, my family seems to like to pronounce it like "Ev-ritt" with a hill-billy accent. There are clearly some family dynamics that far exceed the scope of our son's name, but he is due at any moment and we are at a huge loss as far as what direction to go next. I wish I could be really tough and let all of it roll off my back, but I know myself and it will drive me crazy for a LONG time if this is an ongoing source of strife. I'd like the issue to be finished. Other things to consider: My maiden name is Taylor and we would like to use it in either the first or middle name. If we were having a girl, we really liked the names Emma, Grace, Abigail, and Caroline. My husband tends to like biblical names: Joshua, Zachary, Gabriel, Benjamin. I'm really interested in a name that has a nice flow from First to middle to last, and when it's just first and last and if the first can be shortened to a nickname then nickname and last. We would love suggestions on a strong masculine name First Middle Peppers that might work well for us and our son. Thank you for your help! (and the help of any readers who offer suggestions- wisdom is greatly needed!!)
This is a very hard situation. You know and I know that your mother should not be behaving this way. An initial negative reaction would have been bad enough, but to continue to campaign against the name even after you told her it was final is beyond unacceptable.
Nevertheless, she is doing it. While I would like to leap up onto a crate and exhort you that it's your choice! she named her babies and now you get to name yours! it's a great name and she will come around to it! stand your ground!---it's not something I'm planning to do. It's easy for someone ELSE to say that you should get to use the name you want to use---but such a stance denies the reality of the situation. If I picture my own mother carrying on about a name the way yours is, I think I too would be choosing not to die on this hill. We DON'T really know that she'll come around to it, and "You should choose the name you love no matter what other people think!" is the kind of advice people give easily only when they're not the ones living with the consequences. Not to mention that I WANT my mother to love my baby's name---not at the expense of all my own opinions, but it's something I'm willing to work at a bit.
One possibility at this point is to involve your mother EVEN MORE: if she's going to kick up an unending stink if you don't choose a name she likes, have her tell you which names she likes from your list of finalists. (I don't recommend asking her for suggestions: you might find that, just as when my mother-in-law delivered a list of her own unasked-for suggestions, they were all from the days when she was naming her own babies.) This could, of course, BACKFIRE LIKE NOBODY'S BUSINESS---but if you want to avoid a name that causes your mother to behave this way, it could also help keep you from jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire.
Another possibility is to choose another name, not reveal it until after the baby is born, and do preliminary work: tell her you've changed the name ONLY because she didn't like it, but that now you're not telling the name because you don't want her to spoil it for you, and that whether she likes the name or not it IS THE BABY'S NAME and if she doesn't like it, you ARE sorry, but she's had her turn to name babies, and now you and your husband are having your turn and she should be very happy she's had a veto.
Everett IS a great name. There is a little group of names I think of as being "similar to Everett"---such things are totally subjective, of course, but I wondered if you might like any of them, as I do: Elliot, Emmett, Evan. I like Elliot Taylor Peppers and Evan Taylor Peppers best; Emmett Peppers is a little harder for me to say, and I think the repeating eh sounds might be too much.
Evan makes me think of Ethan. Ethan Taylor Peppers.
For biblical names, I like your husband's choices (especially Zachary and Joshua) and also:
Adam Taylor Peppers
Jeremy Taylor Peppers
Joel Taylor Peppers
Jonathan Taylor Peppers
Nathan Taylor Peppers
Samuel Taylor Peppers
I also like Henry Taylor Peppers. I think Henry Peppers is adorable. But I have a feeling that a woman who dislikes Everett won't feel any happier about Henry. I think my own favorite would be Jonathan Peppers, with the nickname Jon.
Name update! Ashley writes:
Thank you so much for responding to my email. Your response couldn't have come at a better time. My husband and I were resting in my hospital room after just meeting our little boy, still scratching our heads about his name. We thought we'd check to see if there was a response posted on your blog. There was!! Not only that, but there were many helpful responses from kind and thoughtful readers. I am so grateful for how well thought out your words were. I think my husband and I were beginning to notice after reading that we were falling into two different camps as far as the name Everett. He was willing to die on that hill, I was not. This understanding was empowering as we considered our motives and options. For the next few days- while in the hospital holding him, looking at his sweet little face we tried on a few names. We really like your suggestion of Jonathan. He called him that for a day. It just never took. We tried Everett and Owen and neither truly felt right. A dark horse entered the race and moments before being discharged from the hospital we decided to try the name Truman. It worked. It fits our son perfectly. His full name is Truman Taylor Peppers. We use that or Tru or even sometimes Mr. T when addressing him. I think we both felt satisfied finding a name that had little emotional association and that we didn't already have a slew of opinions about. Truman fits the bill! Thanks, again! We are truly blessed by this precious gift and love our son's name!!
Thank you, again!
What a great name! Thank you so much for letting us know! And, what did your MOM think of it??
Thank you! We are very happy with it. I think it's a good sign that we have no lingering regret or hurt feelings about the previous situation. It had been my fear that we would compromise and hold some sort of resentment. I don't think either of us feel we did. And for my mother... as far as I know she loves it. She may be so glad we didn't choose the other name that anything else would seem brilliant, but she did seem truly delighted. What a great way to for an unwelcome issue to come together. Oh, and I noticed someone mentioned pictures, so I thought I'd include one of our handsome little boy. Thank you, again!