Choosing a Baby Name Shouldn't Give You a Nervous Breakdown

babyLadies, do you know what your number-one anxiety about becoming a parent should be? Not whether or not to immunize. Not protecting your kids from cyberbullies. Not saving for college. Nope, here is what you should be worrying about right now: Is your baby's name cool enough? (Hint: No it is not.)

In a New York Times lifestyle piece, an expecting dad writes about his "new baby-name anxiety." You know, trying to find a baby name that's unique, but not too weird, and that basically communicates every hope, dream, and value you could possibly have for your new child. And ermahgerd, all the awesome baby names are taken, leaving you with lemons like Iago and Eunice. Wait a minute -- actually, those sound kinda cool ... do you think? Anyway, here's the problem in a nutshell.


Baby naming has become an industry — with paid consultants, books, Web sites brimming with trend data, and academic studies exploring correlations between baby names and future success. The once-simple task of coming up with a monogram for the baby blanket has evolved into a high-stakes exercise in personal “branding.”

Oh, you had to drag science into this. This isn't just a silly made-up problem only hipster aspirational parents worry about. STUDIES tell us we can ruin our children's lives with the wrong name. "NO! Why did we have to name our daughter Ranunculus? Now she'll never get into Harvard!"

People are spending hours gathering data from the Social Security Administration. They're creating spreadsheets and spending money to hire consultants to help them come up with a freakin' name for their kids. Supposedly! I don't personally know anyone who got this type-A over their baby name, but apparently they're out there.

I admit, I had some of the same thoughts when I was a parent. I too wanted a unique name, something a little bit old-fashioned but fresh. I made a long list of girls' and boys' names. We talked them all over. I get it -- your kids' names are important. You're going to say that name for the rest of your life. But to feel anxiety over that name? Jeebus. Must be nice not to have anything more important to worry about.

Did you worry about picking the "right" name for your child, or was it an easy decision?


Image via Eric Fleming/Flickr

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