08 Feb
My Son Played the Name Game and Lost

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

My son just had a baby and I do not like the name they gave her. It’s one of those weird, New Agey names. I have resorted to calling my beautiful little grandchild “the baby” or “Angel” because I can’t bear to call her by her real name. What should I do? I’ve tried to get over it, but I can’t. This is my grandchild!


Biting My Grandma Tongue


Dear Biting My Grandma Tongue,

Your dilemma is precisely why I chose to tell my mother when I was pregnant that if I had twin girls, I was naming them “Laverne and Shirley.” Or if it was just one baby, “Aretha,” no matter what the sex. (Middle name: “Bobetha.”) Of course she was so relieved when we ultimately went with “Sam” that she didn’t make one single peep about our name choice.

I know. I’m so smart sometimes, I can’t stand it.

Anyway, it’s all fun and games to laugh at stupid baby names until the day you suddenly find yourself silently weeping while you change sweet, little Kount Drakula’s diaper. And you can just imagine what a blast Gwyneth’s nanny has at the park. “Her name’s Apple. A-p-p-l-e. Like the fruit. Or the company that makes the phones. Or the…OH, WILL YOU JUST LEAVE ME ALONE? I DIDN’T GIVE HER THAT DUMBASS NAME, OK? I WOULD HAVE NAMED HER ‘PEGGY’! PEGGGGGYYYY!”

Unfortunately for you, your son realized that one of the perks of parenting is being able to choose your baby’s name and then force it down everybody’s throat. What you need to remember, however, is that he loves the weird, New Agey name he picked out. Especially now that it’s forever attached to his perfect little daughter. And that’s why I strongly advise you keep your true feelings to yourself.

What you can do is give her a sweet nickname that’ll hopefully catch on with everybody else who dislikes her name. Maybe a shorter version of her moniker—like “Condi” isn’t as bad as “Condoleeza” and “Bert” is better than “Englebert.” However, if she has a truly horrible name like “Seabreezia Macadamia,” you might just have to call her “angel” until she turns 18.

Then you can take her down to the courthouse and help her legally change it to “Aretha.”

Good luck,

Wendi, TMH

26 Responses to “My Son Played the Name Game and Lost”


Comment by Sally.

Please be careful how you handle something like this. We named our daughter Margaret but always call her Maggie. My MIL didn’t like Maggie (for a really dumb reason), so she never called her that, she always used Margaret. My daughter, who loves being called Maggie, always resented her for it and it kept them from being close.


Comment by calliope.

I’m probably sensitive about this as my husband and I are in the process of trying to choose a name for our incoming baby. I’m American and he’s Belgian and I can tell you, it’s hard enough choosing a name, but trying to choose one that works in two languages/cultural contexts is really difficult.
You had the chance to name your children what you wanted, now I suggest you cut your son and his wife some slack. They chose a name they both had to agree on and love. It’s not your child, it’s theirs. Please, getting hung up on a name is so petty. Your grand daughter will be your pride and joy, whether her name is Rachel, Amy, Mathilda or Silver-Rain.
Love her for who she is. And part of who she is is her name.


Comment by Bean.

Great advice – and personally, I can’t stand it when someone calls my kids “angel”. Biblically, they’re scary (they must be – the first thing they always say when they appear is “fear not”) – and in popular context, they’re dead people. Creeps me out either way.

mixpisha Reply:

I also have trouble with using the nickname “angel”. I have a little girl and I never refer to her as angel b/c I spent a long time working with women with infertility, and “angel” is how we refer to our lost babies (i.e. “I have 1 boy, 1 girl, and 3 sweet Angel babies”).


Comment by hokgardner.

When I was pregnant with my second daughter, I announced that if the baby was a girl, I wanted to name her Tallulah, which was my favorite girl name. My mil looked at me and said, “I just don’t know what I would think about calling a baby Tallulah.” She was really lucky that I was too tired from barfing constantly to go all psycho pregnant lady on her. Instead, I said, “Well, I hope you will love her no matter what her name is.”

So suck it up, and get used to saying the name. Practice in front of the mirror if you have to.

(And we ended up naming our daughter Lily.)

Plano Mom Reply:

I LOVE Tallulah! My mom wimped out and didn’t name my sister that, but my entire life that’s what she called her. I was jealous that I only got stupid Elizabeth for a name.


Comment by Nina.

I can’t talk about baby names all day. I have no idea why . . . Seriously, I think I have problem.

Great advice to Grandma, Wendi! P.S. I have a Sam too. Solid name.

Marinka Reply:

At least until he grows up and has his own kid–Son of Sam.

Steph Reply:

no, you di-unt! (i’m not hip enough to pull this off, even online. . . sigh)


Comment by Mandy.

I have got to say, if anybody decides they have a problem with the names I choose for my children, I will probably have to beat them to death with a shoe. Since when is that anybody else’s business? (EVEN YOURS, GRANDMA.)

admin Reply:

You’re totally going with Kount Drakula, aren’t you Mandy?

Danielle Reply:

We are helping someone at my office change their name. Her name is xtal, pronounced Crystal. OY!
Think of the children!!!


Comment by Lynn MacDonald (All Fooked Up).

Just have the parents committed and rename the child…that’s what my mom did.


Comment by annie.

Sorry Grandma but I’m in the “suck it up and deal with it” camp. Show some respect for your children and honor the name THEY chose.


Comment by Plano Mom.

Way to go with the bait and switch, Wendi!

My neice recently named her daughter something that the entire family HATED. As a family, we committed that since we loved her dearly, and she loved that name, we would all make a sincere effort to use it as much as possible, in as positive a light as we could.

You know what? The name grew on us… we love it now.


Comment by Leigh.

This is my favorite topic. MIL to a DIL is the worst relationship.
I wished it were different with even my own MIL. She isn’t a fan of my sons name, Daniel, since we call him Danny. She wanted him named after her son and her ex husband. She finally came around after about 2 years. Especailly when my son wouldn’t respond to her as a toddler because he really didn’t know she was referring to him!
Get over it, you’ll be glad you did.

Leigh Reply:

Oh and when she calls him Daniel it sounds like she is saying “Danielle”


Comment by StephanieG.

My sister hates the name I gave my daughter, which is a perfectly “normal” name (Gabriela), but for some reason, she has a bad taste in her mouth over it. My kid is 7 now, and it’s a bit offensive to us that she can’t call her by her given name. On the flip side, my daughter seems perfectly happy with the nickname my sister has given her – “Gracie Belle,” which quite frankly, I can’t stand. What to do??


Comment by I'm a big ol' b with a captial B!.

@Stephanie, that is really weird that she couldn’t handle Gabriela. But since it seems like the two of them have worked out that Gracie Belle (yeah, weird) works, I guess I’d just go with it. But the second your daughter shows any signs of not liking the nickname and wants to be called Gabriela by your sister, I’d put my foot down and make her do so.


Comment by dusty earth mother.

Well, now that “Angel” has me officially freaked out (thanks, mixpisha), unless the kid’s named Wolfganga, I say suck it up, Gram. Sorry.

mixpisha Reply:

Sorry ’bout that. 🙂


Comment by skchord.

People are really funny about names, and I suggest following the MH advice and not bring it up and try to respect their decision. Again, people can be very offended if you try to mess with the name they gave their kid…c.i.p…my step-son’s name is Josh and when he was younger I tended to jokingly call him Joshy-Squashy, which he loved. His mother had a coronary and blasted me for using the word “Joshy” instead of Josh. Just tread lightly, and if there is a shortened version or a nickname, I would ask if it’s okay with them if you call her that. You can always say it’s so you can have something special between just the two of you and thereby avoid any discussion of weird names. Good luck!


Comment by Erin I'm Gonna Kill Him.

There are things you can control and things you can’t. This is the latter. Gotta move on. Call the kid by the name they gave him or her.


Comment by Leigh Ann.

I despise the name my sister picked out for my niece. She even admitted it was a stripper name! I shortened it to a little nickname. That being said, I’m not a fan of forced nicknames. My family makes my niece and nephew call me GeeGee (hard g) and I have always hated it.

Embrace the name, new agey or stripper.


Comment by Chevy.

I watched one of my (60+y.o.) girlfriends give her daughter SO MUCH grief over the name of her new child (“all I can think of is the Ogre on SHREK!”) – she mailed her daughter little Shrek dolls, made green jokes all the time… it lasted a year, until she was finally able to meet her little granddaughter, and suddenly it was all ok. It was just reallllly ugly for a whole year.

Everybody has some name that they don’t like, because it reminds them of the bratty little girl who used to rip your hair out and spit in your face on the playground, or some sociopath you accidentally dated for a while in college (no? that’s just me?), but if you’re a grown-up, you realize that labels never accurately describe the whole of a person. …And really, there are only so many names in the world. Live “Seven.” Annnnd bla, bla, bla, clackety-clack. Call people what they want to be called.


Comment by I Hate Your Baby Name | The Mouthy Housewives.

[…] we have gotten this baby name problem before. And I was really bracing myself for you to share some kind of horrific name. But Colton? Oh […]

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