Not awful baby names


awful baby names

I don’t love my kids’ names. There, I said it. The most important decision you make for your children and I botched it before ever leaving the hospital. Go me!

Well, I do love Lily’s. Jeff and I wanted something feminine and timeless and pretty and the moment we found it, we knew. It’s more popular than I realized, but that’s alright. She’s fine.

It’s the boys. I mean, their names are fine. Nice, even. Just so much more boring than I ever imagined I’d have.

I always thought I wanted a Gabriel, but with Ben, we owed Jeff’s family a name and he wanted to honor his grandmother by using the middle initial “A.” An A name would have resulted in the initials GAS, which shattered my dreams of a little Gabe. Also topping my list was Oliver and Asher, but the “er” at the end clashed with the “er” at the end of our last name, so those were out. Every other name I loved didn’t work for some reason or another and I was totally stumped. Boy names are just so hard.

I vividly remember the moment a friend suggested Benjamin as I pushed Lily on the swing in her backyard. It’s not awful, I sighed. There was no reason not to use it. I liked it enough. And, with that, my baby had a name.

Evan was going to be my Gabriel. Or my Aiden or Julian or something less common and more beautiful sounding, while still being masculine and cool. (Kind of an impossible feat, right?) But at the hospital, none of those names seemed to fit.

How about Evan, Jeff suggested as I huffed and puffed my third baby out. Evan. It’s not awful, I sighed.

It was never a name we so much as mentioned during the nine months, but suddenly that’s what our baby was called. I remember being rather incredulous the next day that I agreed to it at all. We each accidentally referred to him as Ethan a few times during the early days since that was actually a name we’d discussed beforehand. Whoops.

So, that’s the story of how we named our boys: The least awful names I could think of.

Sorry, kids!


  1. 1

    Loukia says

    Ha! Well we had to (well, not HAD to, but you know, as tradition goes…) name our children after our parents, and I was okay with my dad’s name – Dimitry – or my mom’s name – Katerina. I wasn’t in love with my husband’s dad’s name, though. Christos. But it’s grown on me. Although it’s totally said differently in Greek – Xristos. And in English people say Chris-tos. Anyway! And I got my Dimitry. If we were to have a third child, (unlikely) and it was a girl, she’d be named Katherine. If we had another boy, hmm. Alexander, I love.

  2. 3

    Kmama says

    I am a freak and required that we had two names picked out before each child was born. I didn’t want to have to name my child something that I didn’t think they looked like. So with my first, we had Jack and Nicholas picked out. Jack was my pick, and Nicholas my husbands. After 45 hours of labor and a c-section, I won. My oldest was Jack.

    With my second pregnancy, we decided on Nicholas, but could not think of another name. We had Cole and Evan in mind, but didn’t “love” them. We decided that if he didn’t look like a Nicholas when born, we would name him something else that we thought of in the hospital. Thank goodness he looked like a Nicholas.

    So I have my Jack and Nick.

    • 5

      Bruna says

      I love Nicholas! I had it as a choice before I knew if I was having a boy or a girl. But it was a girl and her name is Emma. :) Emma Louise, actually. They were our grandmothers – and I think those names go so nice together.

      The weird thing here is… This is my second marriage (well first, because the previous wasn’t on paper, but anwyays), it is a mess because we come from different countries, so my first son’s name sounds really “different” both in Denmark (where hubby is from) and here in the US, where we live now. “José Guilherme” – yeah, try to say *that* again, lol. In english this would be “Joseph William” and boy, does that sound weird in english? But I promise you, in my home country, in our mother language, it’s beautiful. Not so common, even though I know a couple of guys called Jose Guilherme, but it’s strong, and very beautiful.

      The worst will be finding a third name to go with Gui’s and Emma’s, if (when) we have another baby! :P

      PS: Guilherme goes by “Gui” (as in…guitar) most of the time. It’s his nickname but in the US noone even knows how to say his first name so… He goes by “Gui”; which I love.

      • 7

        Kmama says

        No, imagine that!! My brother teased us about it for awhile. Worse than that is Nick’s middle name is Drew. So it was Nicholas Drew…and my brother asked if I had a Lachey complex (Nick and Drew Lachey). We never even though about those things…though we thought about so many others.

  3. 8

    elisa says

    naming the kids is hard! especially the boys, so i can totally relate to your story and the not awful part.

    Marius is my favorite name, which my eldest boy is called. When we had our 2nd boy – well trouble! (I had a lot of girls name to choose from, but somehow they didn’t work). We had thought of Kalle and Silas (which are both easily pronouced names in Denmark, where I live!), but we couldn’t decide which one, since neither was just perfect. After a couple of weeks my twins (at the time 4 yo) woke me up from my nap telling me that it was decided that the name was Kalle. Well, ok, I thought, we had to make the decision at some point – and I could live with that. Getting down stairs I said to my husband: “so you three decided on Kalle?” He looked surprised and informed me that he had noting to do with that, the twins had decided it all on their own, apparently. So Kalle is his name. Sometimes I like it, sometimes I would have preferred Silas – I don’t think I’ll ever be completely content with the choice.
    And by the way, he is named after cameleon – from a kids tv-show!

      • 10

        Hannah says

        I totally agree…I can come up with girl names, no problem. We have Eleanor (although I was a little bummed by all the “Ella” names that cropped up around the same time). Then came…the boy. Felix, Charles, Oliver, Henry, Patrick, back and forth, round and round…then he was born, and he didn’t “look” like any of those names. Six hours later, I muttered, “what about Benjamin?” and it was settled, even though I have an uncle and a brother named Ben, and it was always an instant veto beforehand. Now, I can’t imagine him as anything else!

      • 11

        Nenette says

        Me too! I have a ton of girl names. Nothing for boys, so when my son popped out, we were thrown for a loop, and eventually chose a name that we both loved. Unfortunately, it’s a name that made my parents decide to never speak to us again. Meh, their loss. We’d been putting up with their “crazy” for years, and frankly, this was a small price to pay. :)

        I love the name we named our daughter, but I wish we could’ve had more daughters because I love all the other girl names we have in the queue. Alas, I don’t think I could handle a 3rd child in the mix. Kudos to you moms who can! :)

  4. 12

    Cindy S says

    It’s so unfair that they FORCE us to name these little creatures before we leave the hospital. I mean, really, there is probably no time in life when we are LESS qualified to be making important decisions. Hormones roaring, body aching, terror setting in (I have to be ALONE with it?)…my goodness. I think they should allow us 3 months or so to come out of the total TORNADO that is new parenthood before we decide for sure on the baby’s name. Let the kid show some personality first so we can label them properly. I mean, that’s what we did. And now, little Satan and little Jezebel could not be more comfortable in their monikers.

    • 13

      Courtney says

      Awww…. Satan and Jezebel would have a BLAST with my little Demon Seed (he takes after his father).

      • 17

        Scary Mommy says


        And, exactly!!! Couldn’t we at least let the drugs wear off before faced with the most important decision EVER?!

        • 18

          elisa says

          here in Denmark it’s just the opposite situation -
          if everything is fine during birth, you are on you way home after a couple of hours. then you have about 6 months to decide on the name! – maybe somewhere in between for both countries.
          Actually i’ve heard somewhere that if you haven’t named your kid after 6 mo, the state will give him the name of the king and queen- but maybe just a rumor though!

          • 19

            Not a Perfect Mom says

            here in Florida you can change the name on the birth certificate for free in the first year…not that I did..but I checked into it before the first one was born..

    • 20

      Ra Ra Rache says

      Wow in the UK we have 42 days to choose and register babys name. I have a Jacob and Samuel, not unusual and not very popular either in the UK.

  5. 21

    Sherri says

    My husband and I fell in love with Malcolm for a boy for over a decade before we even started trying – one of those early dating, hypothetical baby names conversations. Fast forward 13 years and boom, a baby boy. Thank goodness, since we didn’t have any girl names at all, as the ones I was always partial to had rocketed up the top 10 list. I’m thrilled for my son to have a classic and not terribly popular name that he can live with as a kid and an adult.

  6. 22

    Rhonda M says

    I was lucky, I knew 20 years ago what my daughter would be named if I ever had one. First name anyway, I knew would be Hannah. I have been in love with that name forever. Hubby picked the middle name, which I love too, her middle name is Cheyenne.

    If she had been a boy, we picked Chase Neal. But I knew in my heart I would never use the name.

    • 23

      Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting says

      We have a similar story. Always dreamed of a girl named Sydney during our courtship. Funny how NONE of our three girls are named Sydney. We completely effin’ forgot all about it! Ha!

      • 24

        April Queen says

        My daughter is Sydney (Amanda is her middle name after my sister Amanda). When I named her that Melrose Place was really popular and a lot of people thought I got the names from it! But I always liked Sydney too.

  7. 25

    Jennifer says

    Growing up with the most popular name in the US for 16 years running, I was desperate to find names for our kids that were NOT on the most popular baby names list. But, since my husband is of Italian descent and we have an incredibly long last name, they could not be more than 2 syllables. So, we have Mila and Marco. I still love their names, thankfully.

        • 28

          Jennifer says

          I think it got worse after I got married and became a Jennifer WILLIAMS. At least my maiden name was unique. Do you have any idea how many Jennifer Williamses there are?

          • 29

            Randi says

            My SIL’s name is Jennifer Jones. She absolutely hated it growing up. She said that she ALWAYS had someone in the same class with her name, sometimes both first and last name. At her graduation there were 6 Jennifer Jones, lol

        • 30

          Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting says

          I feel ya! Dude, I was one of THREE Lisa H’s in my HOMEROOM. {shakes head} Oh, and now? My friggin’ married name is a character off of Green Acres!

    • 31

      Karen says

      I did the same thing, I’d come up with a name, then plug it into the social security web site to be sure it was at the very end of all the names. The name we picked was number 910 out of 1000 for 2009, so that’s not too bad. It’s not even ranked prior to 2004 b/c it wasn’t in the top 1000. Her middle name didn’t make the cut at all.
      Charlize Makaira.

    • 32

      Jen says

      I never want to saddle my children with a common name. I’ve come to terms with mine, but it sucked growing up! Funny how you almost never hear of girls being named Jennifer now? Probably because we all bitched so much about it :)

  8. 33

    Alexis says

    We also struggled with names. We went to the hospital with a list of names which we quickly decided were all UNBEARABLE once baby #2 showed up. Then we sat there on check-out day surfing the Internet for ideas because I damn sure wasn’t bringing baby home with no name. Our family is pretty much defined by procrastination and I knew if he was nameless when he got home he would probably stay that way.

    • 34

      Jennifer says

      He would have forever been “the other one” or “no. 2″, which would been worse than any possible name ever.

  9. 35

    Tseidel says

    While my kids were gestating, my husband and I discussed names. He wanted to name them traditional north american aboriginal names, which I was fine with. Until! you look them up. Maybe I just set my standards too high. Aboriginal, easy to say, a nice meaning, not too ethnic. The girls were easy. Talise and Rozene. Nice part is that there won’t be half a dozen Talises or Rozenes in any of their schools. The boy? That was different. Holy, but it was hard! It’s very difficult to hold to my principles. Poor boy went through two weeks of namelessness. People in our small town were having a good laugh, I’m sure, as they resorted to calling him President’s Choice, and No Name. FINALLY we came up with Jolon. Can be shortened to Joe, or Joel, and again, not a plethora of Jolons around. So I though. Ha! Joke’s on me! Since he was born/named, two babies have popped up. Both girls. Jaylin, and Joely. Eff.

  10. 38

    Siz says

    I picked 2 names for my boy Thabo(which means happiness) and Jayden, and we ended up using both and so now he’s TJ!
    For my current pregnancy I was sure it was a girl and picked Zinhle(beautiful) and Karis, then a few days ago the scan confirmed its a boy so am back to square one! Any suggestions?

    • 42

      margy says

      I gave my son my maiden name as his christian name, so he is Lane with middle name Shilo. We have not personally met another Lane but know they are out there. lol

      • 43

        Molly says

        We named our firstborn son Lane as well and I still LOVE it! So strong yet so simple. I was always so close with my Grandpa Lane (Lane the last name) and my husband liked the name Lane from Lane Frost in that bullriding movie “8 Seconds”. If our first was a girl it also probably would have been Lane as it is a unisex name. I am always intrigued when I hear of other Lanes in the world. :)

  11. 44

    AlishaJaybird says

    Hahaha! Well my oldest is named after a character Sean Connery played, my middle one actually IS named Gabriel. And my youngest is named after church elder, and that kid is the oneriest of them all! but get this… My hubby says later after they’re all here, “did you ever notice the boys’ initials? MGD? Yeah, that’s so they’ll have the initials for Miller Genuine Draft.” Yes, thank you, darling, for helping me come up with names that are the acronym for beer. Heck, why didn’t you just spring for KEG since you were feeling creative? I let him live because it IS kind of funny and he’s pretty hot.

  12. 47

    Tonia says

    Growing up with a name no one could pronounce, my children are Nicholas and Lauren – you can go to any store and buy items with their names on them. That was my only rule for names. My FIL was “the baby” for 9 months before his parents could figure out a name for him. Granted, his mom was 45 when he was born, and running a business, farm, and raising 2 sons already. She was probably exhausted.

  13. 48

    Tanya says

    Hahahaha I love that you “owed” Jeff’s family a name!

    DB (read douche bag) and I couldn’t agree on names, at all. I wanted something unique. I really wanted names like mine and my sister’s which are both American and Thai names. Finally the night before my c-section DB was flipping through a Thai name book and came across one that means knowledge and was actually quite beautiful, Tiraya. I should have known better, no one gets it right, no one even comes close to getting it right. LOL.

    With number 2 I just picked the name, DB didn’t get a choice. I wanted Lanna for #1 but he hated the name. I told him to shove it because Lanna is a Thai name and an American name. I thought she’d have less trouble then Tira… I was wrong apparently Americans can’t even read names that are in English.

  14. 51

    Amanda says

    I love my son’s name. But I don’t like my daughters name. I thought I seriously was the only one, it’s good to know, I’m not alone.

  15. 53

    Stephanie says

    I was having a girl. They told me so. And her name was Gracie (by the grace of God I was able to conceive) Michelina (family name) Otis (my dad’s middle name. He had terminal cancer so he had to be remembered) D(last name). I ended up in the hospital at 31.5 weeks. During the ultra sound the nurse asked if I wanted to know the sex. I said I did know, it was a little girl. She said, “No, here’s the turtle. Sweetie you’re having a little boy.” Back to the drawing board we went. My mom went out and bought a name book. My youngest brother (Lincoln Kole) found the name. I liked it and worked with what I had. We now have a Karver (spelled with a “K” for my brother) Otis (my dad) Greyson (by the grace of God) D_ _ _ _ _ _ (last name). THEN!! I got married and hyphenated my name. So, Karver Otis Greyson D-K_ _ _ is on his birth certificate. Every once in awhile he throws his nick name in there as a middle name as well — Lumpy. It gets even better when he starts talking about adding his dad’s (not biological, but the only one he knows) first name (Michael) as an addition to his middle, like his brothers. It’s AWESOME!!

    • 54

      kristi says

      I love my boys names! I wanted biblical, my husband wanted cool.. lol. First was Ezekial (strong one) – called Zeke after a character my husband liked – win/win… second was Isaac (he who laughs), called Ike because Ike’s just a cool name! Then we werent having any more and still had names to use, George Bush#1 was in office with his 2 middle name thing going on, so each boy got 2 middle names – both got Eldon because both of our dads are named Eldon (one spelled EldOn and one spelled EldEn), and then they each got a family name. Lots of names for 2 little boys. Husbands name is Rock so we had to match it all up with Zeke and Ike – they all go together with the “k” sound :) The funny thing is, I cant imagine them with any other names! They fit perfectly. And of course, so very cool :D

  16. 55

    Distracted Dadddy says

    At least they are not made up names and you kept the normal spelling.

    If we had a boy, we had a beautiful name picked out that we both agreed upon. We had a girl and we couldn’t agree. I always told my wife that I wanted to call our daughter Fabiola. It means bean-grower. My wife refused and I was sort of joking. But I’m glad we didn’t choose that name. It’s such a tough decision.

    For the next kid, I’m blindly opening a baby name book and just going with it.

  17. 60

    Jessica says

    We had Cameron and Landon picked out for our little blue bundle and basically waited to see him to make sure one of the names fit. I also practiced scolding “Cameron” and “Landon” because I knew that would be something I’d be doing a lot of in the toddler/pre-school years. Cameron had a much better ring to it, I could almost make a growling noise out of it. :) So, it won!

    The only thing I wish is that I didn’t share the names with friends and family before he was born. I still scratch my head at some of the comments. There was “Cameron is a girl’s name” and “what will Landon be landing on”. People are so opinionated and rude!

  18. 63

    Justine says

    Your story is exactly how my youngest son got his name. I tried really hard for David, or Matthew, or David Matthew (for those that know the band you know what I was trying for here) but it didn’t fly – and perhaps in hind sight, this was a good thing. My friend was in the hospital room visiting and mentioned ‘Kyle’. It wasn’t horrible and I was feeling a lot of pressure to name the baby before I left the hospital that day. Voila!….the baby was named.

    • 64

      Joanie says

      My oldest child is Regina Frances (we call her Gina). Folks thought I named her after Genie Francis, who was Laura Webber on General Hospital. Not so. She was named after my mother, Regina and my father’s middle name, Francis.

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