Thoughts, Musings, & Ramblings of a Catholic Housewife


How to pick a Baby Name 101 (A 12 Step Program)

I know you can find “How to Name Your Baby” lists all over the place…cause I’ve read many of them.  I just decided I’d add my two cents, especially because as prepared as I thought I was, I was still surprised by some things we’ve encountered as we’ve discussed baby names.  Below is similar to the process we went through.

Step 1: Have you and your spouse make a huge list of every name you like.  Consider family names (either to include or automatically veto), biblical names, Saints’ names, etc.  (If your spouse is like mine, then he won’t bother with a list.  He’ll just add a couple names to yours and then proceed to veto nearly everything, including some of his own suggestions.)

Step 2: Play the veto game on each other’s list. (He vetoes names off your list and you veto names off of his.)

Step 3: Start trying to combine names into first and middle combos from both lists (cause that’s just nice).

Step 4: Say the names out loud, like they may be said in various situations (like your kid is in trouble, you are cheering for them, they are graduating, passing the bar, arresting a suspect, being arrested, etc).

Step 5: Think of any possible nick names, especially mean ones and decide if you like the name enough for your kid to learn to live with whatever you come up with. (Kids are genius when it comes to making up nick names, especially mean ones, so don’t stress too much over this part).

Step 6: See if your child’s web “real estate” is available for the various names you’ve picked.  Try first/middle combos as well as first/last, nicknames, etc.

Step 7: Veto more names.

Step 8: Pray.  A name is a powerful and important thing.  It’s good to ask God what He thinks about your choices, especially if you are leaning towards naming your kid L-a (pronounced Le DASH Ah), Shi’thead, Turtle, or some other extra creative (*cough* or crazy) name.

Step 9: Prepare yourself for lots of opinions.  If you choose to share the name you’ve chosen or names you are considering with people, prepare yourself for unsolicited “advice”.  Like “What about this name (that neither of you like and vetoed before ever hitting Step 1)?”

Step 9.5: I call this 9.5 because it is also about preparing yourself…for people to express abject disappointment and to almost seem rejected by your name choices.  Really, it happens.  You don’t want to name your kid after great-great-great-Grandpa Dickie and someone gets their panties all in a bunch.

Step 10: Unless you KNOW the gender of your baby and are absolutely certain about baby’s name – AVOID getting anything monogrammed until after baby is born and you settle on an official name.  I can’t be the only person who’s name was changed at birth.  My mom didn’t KNOW if I was a boy or a girl (cause they didn’t have all that fancy technology in the dark ages) but had a gut feeling that I was a girl.  She called me “Amanda” throughout the entire pregnancy.  Then she met me.  My name is NOT Amanda.  Amanda doesn’t appear in any form, in any way, in any part of my name.  She met me and KNEW that I would never be an Amanda.  I had to be a Rebecca.  (Good thing for me because my husband’s ex-girlfriend’s name is Amanda.  My MIL disliked her INTENSELY and I don’t think things would have gone as well if my name brought back memories of her.)

Step 11: Name your baby and tell the rest of the world to take their opinions and shove it.  Ultimately, this baby is being entrusted by God, to you, and that includes your God-given authority to curse your baby with whatever moniker you want.

Step 12: Buy your baby’s web real estate (their website).  Even if you aren’t going to “do” anything with it.  This ensures that some crazy cat lady or escort or moonshiner or mercenary or amateur “film” maker or evil master-mind, etc., who just happens to share your kid’s name, won’t be able to buy it and use it for their own nefarious purposes.

I wish you all good luck with naming those babies!!


Occasionally, your kid still ends up nameless, even after following all 12 steps.  Then you pull out Step 13 and just ask your kid.  Our daughter was nameless for the first 3 days of her life on the outside.  We had trouble deciding between the two names we’d narrowed it down to, so we asked her.  “Are you a …?”  She frowned.  Ok.  “Are you a …?”  She almost started crying.  Ok.  Back to the drawing board (kinda)!  She seemed to veto both names and we didn’t feel like either name seemed quite right…something was just a little off.  So, we prayed some more and checked out the list of Saints names and checked out name meanings.  One name kept coming back up.  It was pretty and feminine and classic sounding.  It was different but not so different.  It was shared by a an awesome Saint and had a wonderfully deep meaning for our family.  We asked our daughter “Are you a Colette?” and we saw her smile for the first time.  We figured a newborn’s smile was all the confirmation we needed and our daughter was named. Funny thing…the two names we’d been trying to decide between were Violet and Coleen.  How close were we?!?