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Friday, March 2, 2012

Baby Naming Issue: Going By a Middle Name

Allison writes:
I may be imagining this, but it seems like I recall you writing once on your baby name blog about naming a baby with the intention of the baby going by his/her middle name. My husband and I are expecting a baby boy and are considering doing this--my only hesitation is the "pain in the butt" factor of having to correct people. Am I imagining that this has been a topic before? I searched the archives, but couldn't find it. If it hasn't been a topic, I'd be interested to get your readers' thoughts on this as it is a hard decision (and one I certainly don't want to regret if we wind up going for it and having to correct people daily).

Thanks for your help!

I know we've discussed it before, but darned if I can find it! Searching "middle name" gives me...pretty much every single post. And it might be one of those topics we've repeatedly discussed within a post, without it ever featuring as the main topic. So let's discuss it as the main topic now.

I think going by a middle name works fine, but that to justify the hassle there should ideally be a good reason behind it. Sample good reasons:

1. You absolutely must use a family name you hate. You use it, but use the name you actually wanted to use as the middle name, and have the child go by that.

2. All juniors, thirds, fourths, etc.

3. Compromises, when nothing else works. I went to school with a boy whose parents couldn't agree on the order of his names, not even at the very last second. So they flipped a coin, named him Adam Jason, and called him Jason. This made a good story on the first day of every school year.

3a. I can picture this also as a solution to a namesake issue, where the parents would like to honor both grandfathers but they want to make it as fair as possible, so they give the first-name slot to one grandfather, but the daily namesake use to the other.


Here's an example of a reason I consider not worth it, but of course it will depend on each family and how they feel about it: reversing the names to improve the rhythm of the whole name. I worked with a woman whose parents wanted to name her Joy and give her the middle name Linda, but thought Linda Joy sounded better. So they named her Linda Joy, and called her Joy her whole life. She thought this was a huge pain in the buns, and wished her parents had just named her Joy Linda: the upside of having a better name rhythm was minor compared to the downside of corrections and forms and confusion and explaining. (She said she'd planned to change it after they died, but by that time she was well into her 60s and the hassle of changing every single legal document seemed overwhelming.)

I've also seen people do it because they thought the honor name had to go in the first-name slot, but didn't want to call the child by that name. In which case I think it makes more sense to put the honor name in the middle-name slot, which is an excellent honor-name position and also removes the awkwardness about why exactly no one wants the child called that name.

I think, though, that regardless of the reason for doing it, the practice is common enough that the hassle, though steady and persistent, will stay at a minor and not particularly confusing level. "He goes by his middle name" is so short and easy to understand, and both you and he will get accustomed to responding to his first name at doctor appointments, on envelopes, at roll call, etc. It's something you'll have to say over and over again throughout your lives, but most of us have to say something over and over again about our names: "That's with an -en," "It's an EES sound, like in Lisa," "Yes, it's French," "No, I kept my own name," "The K is silent," and so on.

One more thing it's good to keep in mind is that the child himself may choose to go by his unused first name later. This particularly applies if the parents are using a first name they dislike: it's good to think out ahead of time that if the child prefers that name and chooses to go by it later on, it would be a tough argument to say that he shouldn't use his own first name.


There! Have we covered all the situations? Does anyone have firsthand or secondhand experience with this, and can report on the level of hassle involved?

39 comments:

Mackenzie said...

This situation happened with me and my son. My son is Jackson Brooks (Last Name) IIII. His father is Jackson Elliot, his grandfather is Jackson Tate and his great-grandfather was Jackson Reese. The great-grandfather went by John, the great-grandfather went by Jackson, his father goes by Jack and my son goes by Brooks.

My daughter was a bit different though. I wanted to name her Emerson Taylor after my maiden name and a friend who passed away in high school, but my husband has another tradition of using the middle name Marie for women. Long story short, our first daughter ended up being Emery Taylor because it kind of included Marie, but i refused the spelling he wanted of Emerie.

Now with our second daughter, we are currently expecting and the naming process has been difficult. My husband wants to use Marie, but its just so distasteful to me. Expect an e-mail soon Swistle. We need your help!

Suki said...

We have a John Augustus who goes by Gus, so we're the pain in the necks using a nickname of a middle name:) John is my husband's name and his grandfather's name, so we wanted to use it. Plus, John seems like such a good, basic, stand-up name that if he doesn't like Gus later in life, he can always fall back on John. I also have to admit to liking the flow of John Augustus more than Augustus John and to liking the nickname Gus more than the full name Augustus.

Anyway, we're only a little more than a year in but so far it really hasn't been much of a hassle. At the doctor's office or when making airline reservations, we just have to remember that he's John. And we've never had any problem with getting people to call him Gus. Since little kids generally get introduced by their parents and we just call him Gus, most people don't even know that's not his "real" name.

kinsey said...

My husband is Joseph Scott and goes by Scott. We wanted our son to be Hank, but thought Henry was becoming way too popular for our liking (Hank would have been nickname for Henry) so we followed my husband's pattern and named him Joseph Hank, he goes by Hank. It's definitely confusing at times, but we love it.

My mom and one of my best girl friends both go by a shortened version of their middle names, and they both hated the inconvenience. In my experience boys don't seem to mind as much since their name never changes, but with marriages for girls it is more of a pain!

Anonymous said...

My husband goes by his middle name. A unique and badly spelled middle name, at that.

It is super-annoying, on both counts.

Denise V. said...

I am Michelle Denise and go by Denise. My parents called me Denise from day one. It does sound better than Denise Michelle but I can definitely verify that this is a total pain and always has been. My driver's license, bank accounts, credit cards, etc are all listed as M. Denise and that is a small help. It probably doesn't seem like it would be a pain for your child to go by a middle name but it really is. You have to weigh the pain in the neck factor on things such as medical records--doctor's offices seem to be the place that REFUSE to use an alternate name. The first day of school with a new teacher and having that teacher catch on to not calling me Michelle was kind of embarassing. Plus, people assume that you hate your given first name. I really don't but it's not me since I was never called that. Just my two cents!

Anonymous said...

My step sister used Is1a Bri1ey and have always exclusively called her Bri1ey. In fact, I had no idea her fn was different until she was 1 1/2 (we don't see them often). The only reason is for this choice was the sound and Is1a was an honor name. This seems to be an instance where it's going to just be a pain for the child as she gets older. Unless she ends up wanting to use her fn, which yay for her because it's such a pretty one.

Rayne of Terror said...

My brother and I both go by our middle names. He because he is III and me because I dislike my first name. My maiden name was Jennifer Jones and that is just as confusing a name to have as going by a middle name. I showed up to have my wisdom teeth out and they tried to use another Jennifer Jones' xrays. I was denied health insurance because another Jennifer Jones had been in a terrible car accident. So from junior high on I screwed around with my name trying to be more unique. I went by Jenny, Jen, and J.R.. My senior year of high school I was paired up with another Jennifer as my roommate. GAH. It was just too mmuch so when I went to college I switched to using my middle name, Rayne. It has it's own troubles. Most official institutions refuse to use my middle name. So at the Dr. and with my law license I'm still Jennifer. Once I failed a class because the professor thought Jennifer never showed up to class - but that was relatively easy to fix. For me, the benefits of having an unusual name outway the drawbacks of using my middle name. I do use my middle name on my resume and such because people with average names get more call backs when job hunting. THen when I get to an interview I explain I don't use my first name.

So. I make the best of my name, but have I done it to my children? NO I HAVE NOT.

Rayne of Terror said...

edit: On my resume I use my full name, not just my middle name.

Therese said...

I have a nephew William Connor (goes by Connor) and his sister Anna Catherine (goes by Cate) and both of them use middle names for the reasons Swistle listed as NOT good reasons (Which I agree with). My brother and sister-in-law wanted to use Connor but Connor William (and every other name option they considered with Connor)didn't flow well. My niece is Anna in honor of her great-grandmother but my sister-in-law never wanted to call her that. She didn't want it to be the middle name because "when she gets married and changes her name, she could just get rid of her middle name and I don't want her to do that so I'll make it her first." I didn't have the heart to tell her that she could very well choose to ditch the first (and unsused) name if/when she gets married (if she even choosed so change her name)... Anyway, from what I've seen so far, it's not been tha big of a hassle for them to use their middle names but they are only 7 & 9 now so that might change as they get older and deal with more "official" paperwork. I also have a cousin that went by his middle name until middle school and then decided to start using his firs name. This was only hard on the family as it took us a while to make the transition after only using his middle name for so long. I will add that if you do choose to have your child use his/her middle name, teach them to let people know. I.e. My name is Connor but my first name is actually William. I now work in the Dean of Students Office for a large state univeristy. It is a nightmare to look up student info when I'm looking under one name and don't realize that it's not their legal first name. All official records are listed under their first name and it makes the process much easier to know that on the front end.

Sarah said...

Apparently, I did the unthinkable and totally named my son Reed Hayes McNeversaidcorrectly and he goes by Hayes. And I absolutely did it because I couldn't stand how Hayes Reed sounded. In his short 2 years on this earth, it's only been an "issue" at the doctor's office where they seem hell-bent on him being Reed. But it doesn't really matter since he loves to tell everyone "I Reed Hayes" and I love how it flows off his little tongue in his sweet Southern drawl. One of my brothers goes by his middle name and I asked him how he felt and he said it was really no big deal. But then, he's a "no big deal" kind of guy...

Karen L said...

It is very common in my extended and immediate family to go by the "middle" name and no one has ever complained about it. So when it worked out that way for my daughter, that was not a concern for me. Her name is Margaret Naomi and goes by Naomi. Margaret is a sacred family name and one that I like in it's own right. Naomi is a name that I like but my husband LOVES.

The way it "happened" is that we were expecting a boy, and while we had chosen Margaret for her name, we only had a short-list for middle names. We announced the name Margaret, middle TBD. We then picked a "middle" name, Naomi. We then set to choose a nickname for Margaret because we felt like it was a very grown-up name for baby. But we didn't like any of the many possible nicknames for Margaret and meanwhile my husband had fallen in love with Naomi and had only ever been okay with Margaret. So when I mentioned the possibility of using Naomi, DH jumped at it and his enthusiasm swayed me.

But by then, I had a bunch of partial reasons for keeping the order
- we'd already announced the name as Margaret MN
- extra honour for the family name
- it does flow better
I don't know if these would have been "worth it" for other people, but since my extended family's experience has been that going by the second name is no big deal, we just went with it.

All that said, I will happily support my daughter if she ever chooses to go by Margaret or a derivative or to switch the order legally.

Abby@AppMtn said...

I'm Amy Abigail, but go by Abby. There are irritating things about it - chiefly that significant transactions often appear to be happening to someone else. (Who is Amy A. and why is she signing my mortgage paperwork? How come Amy A. just gave birth to my child. Oh, right - that's me, according to banks and insurance companies.)

My most killing example? Disney World! They welcome me by the name on my credit card. You'd think a corporation as savvy as Disney would've figured out that their reservation system should include a "prefers to be called" field.

But other than those odd moments of needing to remember that databases are dictators, it isn't a thing.

Clarabella said...

My son is Sean William, and he goes by Liam. Always. As in, his name was Liam from the womb on, but William is his grandfather's and uncle's name and Sean is his father's name, so we covered all kinds of honors.
Other than at the doctor's office, for which it is no trouble to call him Sean, we have NEVER had an issue. As in NEVER. Granted, he's only 4, and he may have issues as he gets older, but honestly, I feel like as long as we say "this" is his name, that's what he'll be called.

Fran said...

My Dad's parents named all of their children wonderful names and called all but one of them by their middle or the nickname of their middle. For example my dad is Jerry Michael but was only ever called Mike from his first day of life.
My husband is a "II" name and also uses a nickname for his middle name and has since birth. It only comes up once in a while and we don't stress too much about because it's just the way it is. But it is kind of odd to name a child a name you never intend to call them.

Courtney Robertson said...

My husband goes by his middle name, and he has always hated the fact that his parents didn't just name him Justin Charles, instead of Charles Justin (goes by Justin, but named after my FIL Charles). It is so confusing, both he and his dad's credit is constantly mixed up (great for us :)!), and half our bills are under Charles (those that require legal names), and the other half are under Justin. Our caller ID says "Charles", and he still has bad thoughts associated with the first day of school and teachers calling him "Charles", which led to teasing, etc. by other kids. When we were pregnant with our first son, we wanted Charles included in his name, but my husband would only have it has a middle name. So our son is Jack Charles, which might not flow as well, but we love it.

-R- said...

I would guess it's probably similar to going by a nickname. Yeah, you have to correct people the first time you meet them, but it's easy to explain and understand.

Anonymous said...

My sister goes by a nickname of her middle name almost exclusively. (My parents couldn't decide which name to put first so they just made a decision, and we called her by both for a while and then she decided very young that she wanted the middle name.) It totally fits her too, and she hasn't had any problems. Another one of my close friends did the same thing...so it doesn't seem weird or even all that uncommon to me.

Elsha said...

I have a couple "going by a middle name" stories.

My grandma hated her first name and ALWAYS went by her middle name. So much so that after awhile her first name didn't appear anywhere, even on official paperwork. She died last fall and ended up with just her middle/maiden/married name on her tombstone because there was no proof anywhere that her given first name had actually been given! (She was born at home during the 20s, so no official birth certificate.)

My husband also used to go by his middle name. He was born John Brian (John being a family name) but always went by Brian. Then when he was a little older (like 8?) his mom remarried and his step dad adopted him, so while he was changing his last name he went ahead and switched his first and middle too. So now it's officially Brian John.

We decided we wouldn't give middle names that we planned to use as first names (since Brian went through the trouble of changing his) but I do try to pick middle names that could be used as first names in case the kid hates his first name!

Kathy said...

My grandmother is named Martha and she named my mother, who is Grandma's 2nd daughter, Martha Ann. To avoid confusion, my mother has always gone by her middle name.

Mom signs her documents, business communications, etc. M. Ann LastName. She doesn't seem particularly bothered by having to correct people all the time.

Anonymous said...

My mom is like Elsha's grandmother, she hated her given name so much that it has just disappeared. All of her official paperwork is Middle Name Maiden Initial Married name.

My father uses his middle name as well (his first is a family name that he dislikes (Alfred, a family name going back generations, which I like)). We named our first after my dad, but switched the order since my husband didn't like Alfred and I really wanted to honor my grandad.

So what did my parents do to me? Named me Gwendolyn Diane and called me Wendy. Now, that was always fun. In college I switched to Gwen and haven't looked back.

Sarah said...

You should do a post about the the "slogans" people have about their names! Like "The K is silent" or "I kept my name"! So far, my name-slogan is "With an H," but soon it will also be "I kept my name."

Anonymous said...

My mother and her sister both go by their middle names. As does my father. In my mother's case it was a flow issue. Her name is Eve Marion because they didn't like the way Marion Eve rolled into each other. I am unsure why my father or aunt go my their middle names. In all cases, they go by their middle names on ALL occasions including mag subscriptions, sporting organisations, school roles, Dr, dentist etc. and it is only for passport and licences that they have to use their legal first names. There has NEVER been any confusion.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Anonymous, never a single moment of confusion from going by a middle name, never in their whole lives? That's truly remarkable.

Susan said...

My husband's name is Winston Paul. He has always gone by Paul. I just asked him how he felt about it; if it was ever a problem for him. He said, "It's a non issue."

My daughter has named her son Mark Weston. He goes by Weston. She has said that she has to pay special attention when at the doctor's office, to know it's his turn when they call 'Mark'.

Melanie said...

My husband is a Junior and goes by his middle name and always has. He hates it. He has bad memories associated with school, it is a hassle on legal forms, etc., and it is just annoying. So even when there is a "good" reason, it still might not be worth it! I think it is a very common practice though, so it's not the worst thing ever. I would just consider carefully if the reason is really, really worth it.

Anonymous said...

My brother goes by his middle name because he doesn't like his first name, and it's just what you say: a steady and persistent hassle. I guess it's worth it for him since he could go back to his first name if it wasn't. It's not like it's a huge deal, but it's things like, a letter comes for him at work, and doesn't get to him because one of the mail clerks doesn't realize that Jeffrey Jones is the same as William Jones. A lot of people who know him by his middle name don't KNOW it's his middle name, so he has to keep clarifying/correcting for payments and legal stuff, and then sometimes people get a little suspicious: "You want the check made out to WILLIAM? But I thought you said your name was Jeffrey." It's never been a BIG deal, it's just something he has to keep in mind and keep correcting. I'm not sure how some of the other commenters could be never running into any issues or problems with it. Names are such an identifying thing, and they're used all the time, for practically everything, and they come up constantly.

Annie said...

I've always (since birth) gone by a nickname of my middle name (which is Anne), as a result of my parents attempting to establish a naming tradition for the firstborns of the future family tree (the "tradition" is kind of complex and convoluted, but that's beside the point). However, I DO have firsthand experience going by a name that isn't my first name (or even my official middle name). So, for what it's worth, it's never really been a negative issue for me.

Yes, I have to remember to use my given first name to sign important legal documents, but that's not hard to do. I've never had any trouble with banks or doctors or insurance companies or anything along those lines, maybe (?) because I anticipate when it might be an issue and address it up front. The only negative I can think of is that sometime's it's odd to think about the fact that my legal first name is one that I have very little day-to-day connection to, but that's more of a fun "food for thought" thing to for me to ponder on occassion than anything else :) Much like Amy Abigail who goes by Abby above mentioned.

I actually LOVE the fact that I know immediately when someone on the phone asks for "Richelle", they're either a telemarketer or someone calling on "official" business. They're usually telemarketers, so I get to hang up on them that much sooner!

Plus, it's kind of a fun thing to explain to people when they find out that Annie isn't, in fact, my "real" name (usually followed by, "But, you're such an Annie!!!", or something along those lines, which makes me feel good because I agree :]). And I like the fact that my parents put so much thought into my full name. So, even though I don't actually love my first name in and of itself, I do appreciate it for the story behind it.

Anonymous said...

My grandmother's family has a long tradition of using middle names in place of first. This is on both sides, so maybe it's a regional thing? All I know is it makes genealogy a nightmare. One of her brothers always went by a rather unusual name starting with A. When he died, his grown children were shocked to find that his name was really James A.--but the A. he actually used was really a nickname for the real middle A! His daughter asked my grandmother about & grandma actually had to think about it. She had forgotten her own brother's name because both his first & middle given names hadn't been used in over 70 years.

mollymcca said...

Wanted to provide some first hand experience on this issue. I don't go by my middle name, but I do go by a relatively unknown (if traditional) nickname for my first name - my name is Mary Kyle, go by Molly. No one has ever called me Mary as my parents always intended just to call me Molly. I happen to like my name, but it is a hassle. It's something I have to deal with on a weekly basis, and it comes up more than you'd think. The standard explanation speech / polite correction thing is effective but if your child is shy it might be more of a burden.
It's no deal breaker but consider what sort of temperament you expect your child to develop, too.

Kate said...

I'm in the (relatively small, apparently) camp of people who LOVE using their middle names. My parents named me Jennifer Kate for the reason Swistle gave for not doing it- Jennifer Kate sounds infinitely better than Kate Jennifer. I love having an interesting quality to my name, without having to deal with the repercussions of having an *interesting* name. It's no big deal at all to remember to use my first name for official paperwork/at the doctors/etc. I mean, it's just one other name to answer to, it's not like they're coming up with something random every time I check in. I've also had no problem having the actual doctors/teachers/whomever call me Kate, if I bother to ask them to. My non-official paperwork, like checking accounts and credit cards, are under J.Kate, and I introduce myself as Kate. My father goes by his middle name as well, and I fully intend to continue (start?) the tradition with my own children someday.

Anonymous said...

Of the 10 kids on my son's basketball team, eight of them, including my son, go by their middle names. My son is William Jacob "Jake". Maybe it's a southern thing? Very common here (SC)

Anonymous said...

My husband is Donald Scott and has always gone by Scott. Donald is his grandfather's name. To me, it doesn't seem to give the honor name "more honor" to put it in the first name slot...and then call the baby something else. It's still the secondary, unused name.

That said, he doesn't seem to mind using his middle name. Even though his credit cards and legal forms use his given first name, he still just signs "Scott Lastname" and it hasn't been an issue. THAT said, it seems unnecessary to me and we won't be calling our kids by their middle names. We'll name them what we plan to call them.

Interestingly/bafflingly, his grandmother is Emma Jane...and she goes by Jeanne. WTF is that?

Angie said...

My grandfather goes by his middle name. He says it's a pain.

His mail is usually addressed to P. Donald, and before retirement, I suspect he used P. Donald on his resume.

One hassle he mentioned is ordering stuff online. Most online forms only leave one character for the middle initial instead of a field big enough for the middle name. I'm not sure how he works around this. Maybe he puts his middle name, Donald or P. Donald in the first name field.

Perhaps if the reason made any sense, he wouldn't mind as much. Basically, his parents intended to call him Donald Paul, but then another boy was born on the same day in the same hospital named Donald Paul, and at the last minute they switched it to Paul Donald, but called him Don anyway. They didn't know the other family, and never saw them again.

My my great grandparents rest in peach, but as far as reasons go, this one is dumbest. This makes even less sense than using the middle name for purposes of flow, IMO.

Of course my grandfather could have decided to go by Paul when he was older, but maybe after being used responding to Don that just felt weird. He could have legally changed it to Donald Paul as well. I can only guess that perhaps the hassle of legally changing his name was seen as worse than the hassles he lives with. Maybe I should ask him if he ever considered legally changing it. I doubt he would do it now that he's in his 70s.

Lakeline said...

I have one of these! We had a naming tradition my husband wanted to honor of Russell J___ LastName. So my FIL was Joseph, husband was Jason, son is Jonas. We call him Jonas because family gatherings get confusing enough with two Russes. So far (3 years) it hasn't been that annoying. I have to correct the nurses each time, though our main doctor goes by her middle name too so she always gets it right! She's said it can be annoying but also said she much prefers that nap so it's worth the hassle. I decided that the bureaucracy annoyance would likely be less common than the family gathering annoyance, so went that route. And I like both names so I won't be at all insulted if some day he decides to use the first name for real.

Anonymous said...

I don't typically comment, just quietly follow. But this topic hits on a deep level! And seeing how I just asked for and received your help (and am still deciding on "Baby Girl _alone's" name...), I felt I should contribute for a change!! ;-)

My husband and I were both middle name kids and neither are a fan. My husbands mother realized her mistake when we were in middle school and had his legally changed at that time. (Middle switched to first, first to middle) I, on the other hand, lived in annoyance until after we were married and before I completed my education. Maybe it is silly, but I hated my first name growing up because it caused confusion and required correction all of the time.

It is probably less of a hassle for males, as they typically don't take the last name of their spouse. But for females, taking your husbands name becomes tricky when you use your middle name . You HAVE to use your first given name on all official documents...drivers license, passport, etc. I didn't know all of this until I went to change all of my information after we were married. I was not a happy camper when I found this out. I thought the horrible middle name curse was behind me! No such luck! I ended up going to court and paying to have my name legally changed before I graduated so my diploma could have my "real" name printed on it. Middle name first, maiden name second and my husbands last name, like most folks I know!

I know that times have changed and most medical/school forms have blanks for "preferred names" to be written in. Maybe it is less of an issue these days in that regard. But no changes have been made with official documents, which I found to be especially annoying once married.

As a child and adolescent, I hated going by my middle name. Needless to say, my husband and I would NEVER recommend calling a child by their middle name.

Anonymous said...

To me going by a middle name would be on the same level as going by a nickname of your first name. I've exclusively gone by a nickname of my first name, so at the Dr.'s, first day of school, etc. I have to let people know that I go by something other than my full given name.

Anonymous said...

I am 48 and was always called by my middle name. When I married, I took my husband's last name, turned my middle name into my first name and used my original surname as my middle name. So.. Mary Jane Smith became Jane Smith Jones. This was never a problem until I tried to get a license in Utah, where I was told that my original birth certificate and marriage license were not proof of me because I had dropped that original first name and that a formal copy of my name change was necessary (as far as I know, I never got a formal copy of that document, if in fact it ever existed. In the age of Homeland Security and overzealous anti immigration State Legislatures, be careful of this

Laura said...

My oldest son is John Maxwell and goes by Max. It wasn't my original intention to call him by his middle name...we had a somewhat unique situation in that my older sister and I both had baby boys born 1 week apart. We knew when we were pregnant that we both wanted to use "John" somewhere in their names were they both to be little boys, because our father passed away many years ago. It also so happens that my father-in-law's first name is John as well. So when my sister had her little William John a week before my son was born, we decided rather than have William John and Maxwell John we'd shake it up and call him John Maxwell, with the nickname Max. I look back on it and think you shouldn't be allowed to make decisions like this when you're 38 weeks pregnant. Most people I know (an uncle and another friend included) thought we were nuts to not only call him by his middle name, but by a shortened version of his middle name. Don't regret the name but maybe regret the order. I really wanted to use the name John but also really wanted to use a name I loved (Max) because being our first, we didn't know if we'd have other sons in the future (we ended up with 3 so far!) :)

We are also in an interesting situation as we are in the process of changing our 3-month-old daughter's first name. We're kind of crazy when it comes to names, apparently. I figured while we're doing this with our daughter, I should ask my son if he wants to legally change his name around as well. He is 9 (3rd grade) and he honestly said he didn't mind it at all and wants to keep it as it is. If he wants to go by John down the road, I'm happy to oblige. I don't think one should base naming decisions on the hassle that may happen with doctor's offices or the DMV...the amount of times you interact with those people as opposed to the amount of time you say or think about your child's name shouldn't be an issue. It really just depends on if you think it's worth it. I do somehow think it is a little different for boys in that it's been VERY easy for us to say quickly "he goes by his middle name" because there are more jrs,thirds, etc. in the male lineage. But bottom line...for us it's a small deal, NOT a big deal. Best wishes!!

Anonymous said...

I'm late in the game on this one but just wanted to point out that I go by my middle name and it's never even been an issue. My name is Anna Rachael but everyone has always known me as Rachael. Occasionally in the bank or at a doctors appointment they will call out Anna, it never bothers me though. Most of the time I don't correct them, I love having a 'secret spy name' Yes i'm 25, what of it? It makes my name just that little bit more special and I think I am way more of a Rachael than an Anna anyway!