What Do Bad Moms Name Their Babies?

By on May 23, 2012

When I was pregnant 12 years ago, my husband had a whole list of names that he loved. I had none. (This continues in our history of role reversal, see: cleaning) But I did know what I didn't like.

And I didn't like Jacob (too popular), Olivia (too popular) or Isabella. I like one-step off the mainstream names, which he absolutely overruled, since he sports an unusual name (sorry, can't tell you) which he has been spelling for people since he could talk.

Turns out he was a decade early — because almost every name on  his list is on the top 2011 names.  And I'm so glad that we didn't name our kids anything on the top ten list (sorry, again I don't tell my kids names. If you read the comments on some of my MSN.ca blog, you will know why.) Though, I still think my husband won the name game and if it had been my choice they would be a little less classic.

Very recently, I have had a lot of experience of having a common name. As a kid, I was the only Emma I knew, I was constantly having to spell it for people. But now,  I can not go to any child-populated event without thinking someone is calling me, rebuking me or just saying Hi. Every party, class, playground has an Emma in it, sometimes more than one. And I don't like it. I feel like a little bit of my specialness has worn off.

That said, I also have strong feelings about names that are too weird. I'm very against popular-nouns as names. Blue? Sunday? Apple? Ridiculous. Sparrow? Ocean? No thanks. I liked Jessica Simpson's choice of Maxwell Drew, more than Rachel Uchitel 's (is she a celeb?) choice of Wyatt for a girl. But my favourite celeb baby names? Violet and Seraphina. Hands down — walks the fine line between unusual and ridiculous.

One of the thing that confuses me about this whole name business is why do I care? It's not my business. I am unlikely to be naming another child, these  lists and discussions should just pass me by. But I love reading the top ten lists and you probably do too.

Naming your child is one of the most personal and important things that you will do. Your child's name reflects on you, because you will be judged on it. But when it comes to naming your child, there is no winning. Unless you are my husband taking advantage of birth-induced exhaustion.

The Top Names of 2011 According to U.S. Social Security Department:

Boys' Names

  1. Jacob
  2. Mason
  3. William
  4. Jayden
  5. Noah
  6. Michael
  7. Aiden
  8. Ethan
  9. Alexander
  10. Aiden
  11. Daniel

Girls' Names

  1. Sophia
  2. Isabella
  3. Emma
  4. Olivia
  5. Ave
  6. Emily
  7. Abigail
  8. Madison
  9. Mia
  10. Chloe

What are your kids' names? How did you decide? What names do you loathe? Love?

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About Emma

Emma Waverman is the mistress of her domain to three kids and husband in Toronto. She co-wrote a cookbook called Whining and Dining, but still considers ordering take-out everyday. You can see what she is thinking about five days a week at her MSN.ca blog: www.embracethechaos.ca.


  1. katie says:

    We had 5 boy name combinations (first and last) but only one girl name combo. It was probably the most daunting yet fun part of the pregnancy and we sat down many night’s pouring over the books. In the end we named our little girl after a latter day saint with a middle name from our favorite crime novel title. I’m glad it fit her because I’m not sure what we would have done if it hadn’t worked. Now if only I could have those five little boys so I could use up those other great combinations… I WANT MY VIGGO SAMUEL :)

  2. Megan says:

    Our little 35 weeker caught my husband off guard and he hadn’t even looked at my top ten list. So for better or worse he voted to combine my top 2. Ciaran Rhys. (pron. keer-an reese) It sounds interesting but not painful. It looks oh so very gaelic. I hope he (my son) loves it but I won’t stop him from changing it.

  3. Lisa says:

    Our daughters’ names are celtic/gaelic/Welsh. Teagan and Ashlin. We chose a more anglicized spelling of Aisling, just so she wouldn’t have to spell her name every time. They mean Beautiful and Dream/Poem. Teagan’s middle name means princess in Breton. Yes, we named her beautiful princess. It made us laugh in the delivery room :D
    Lisa´s last [type] ..May 23, 2012

  4. Darlene says:

    Guilty of having two children with the names in the top 10 – and they’ve both been in the top 10 since we first came up with their names back in 2002!

    Honestly, we had NO IDEA that our son’s name was THE most popular boys name in 2002 – and our daughter’s name was in the top 10 in 2005… so I was worried that he’d be known not just as “Jacob” but as Jacob X his entire school career… so far – he’s never had another Jacob in his class, on a team sport, in a swimming lesson, in Beavers, Cubs or Scouts… currently he is the only Jacob in his school – which has over 400 kids?? Our daughter Abigail is the only Abby in her class.. but her brother has had 2 Abby’s in his class, and we run into Abby’s everywhere.

    But – I have to admit I kind of like them having a popular name… my name was not popular in the 70s, but my sister Lisa’s name was… and when we were kids, it KILLED me that she could find personalized items (mugs, pens, stickers etc) with her name on it – but things that were personalized with Darlene were few and far between!!!

  5. Aussie says:

    I went with Emily for my daughter’s name. It was in the top 3 spots on the Aussie lists (depending on which one you read) which really put me off. We’d come up with it before looking at the lists and it was the only name we both really liked. So after much agony we went with it. We’ve only met a couple of Emily’s since. Only one around my daughters age and a few much older. So far so good!

  6. Delsie Salmon says:

    It seems that if you try to come up with a name that’s fairly unique but not too strange it only ends up being common a few years later. My daughters were born in the 80s and 90s- Heather Nicole, Ashleigh Janae and Brooke McKenzie. I found out the name of my Great Grandmother after my youngest was born and fell in love with it: Emma Elizabeth. If I had a boy he would be Finnegan Patrick and would go by the nickname Finn. In another life maybe!