A Parent’s Very First Job


Having a child means an endless list of responsibilities.  Little beings reliant on us for food, clothing, shelter and tons of other things over the course of their lives.  Its not only a never ending job, but one that starts before we even take them home.

They need a name, a means to be referred to by the world. Something for you to sing as you rock them to sleep, whisper as you ask your God to watch over them, yell one hundred times a day as they grow older.  A name is also how they will refer to themselves, the first step towards self actualization and development of sense of identity.

A name is often the first thing that is known about a person, a first impression that can convey race, gender or heritage, with all the institutional judgments and prejudices that knowledge brings.  It provides insight into the person’s parents, thus giving a potential glimpse into how a child was raised. It’s a person’s calling card, something they will carry throughout all phases of their life.

If it’s so important, the first great test of parenthood, how do so many people screw it up?  A need to reject conformity and cultivate our children’s individuality and uniqueness that instead leaves them saddled with a horrendous moniker for the rest of their lives, cursing their clever parents every time they correct somebody’s pronunciation or ask to be referred to by their middle or nicknames.

I work at a hospital and am presented with dozens of different names daily.  As much as it contradicts my tenet against judging others, I’m finding more and more of these names absolutely ridiculous, sometimes downright nonsensical.  I won’t use any examples in an attempt to not alienate any potential readers, but if the pronunciation of your child’s name is phonetically antithesis to the organization of letters used in it’s visual form, I may be talking about you.  I haven’t been able to independently verify this information, so there is the possibility I am propagating fake news, but I have heard tell of children now being named Hijkmnop, pronounced Noel. If you don’t get it at first, neither did I.  Noel – no L.

It’s a difficult task, and one my wife and I didn’t take lightly.  My first choice of girl’s name was Kahlan, pronounced the same as her preferred boy name, Colin.  Her second choice of boy name was Luke, ironic because my first offering was Skywalker. Upon learning that we would be having a girl we settled on Alaina, my second choice, with a middle name of Shay, her first. Had we a male offspring, there is therefore a very real chance that he would be named Luke Skywalker Barnes, a difficult legacy to live up to. Whether he or society would have ever appreciated this awesomeness is now rendered rhetorical debate, but is a good reminder of why I try not to judge.





36 thoughts on “A Parent’s Very First Job”

  1. I think all this goofy named crap started with the family that named their child ESPN. It was stupid then and now that kid is grown up and probably wishes death on his parents!

  2. So, first let me be honest. My children’s name are all based on biblical Hebrew, albeit modernized. So, instead of Shoshana, we use Shanna. Shira was almost recognizable at the time of my second daughter’s birth- because of Shera , Princess of Power. And, my youngest is Daniel (pronounced by us as dah-nee-ehl).

    But, those were mild compared to what I’ve seen. My ex, who was a teacher, was confronted with a girl whose mom “took the hospital’s suggestion” and named her child “Pah-jah-mah” (but spelled it Pajama…). I had employees called “Bro”, “Sis”, and “Junior”- and those were on their birth certificates….

  3. My daughter’s name is welsh – Sian – pronounced Shar – n . The incumbent at my dad’s funeral yesterday kept stumbling over her name and yet it is a common name in the UK!

  4. Had a friend change her name when we reached adulthood. Parents didn’t understand why, but she kept getting turned down for jobs and was convinced it was the name. I agreed. They named her Bahby. Pronounced BARBIE, but not you had an English accent. We just called her Michelle, her middle name. BAD!#ThatFridayLinky

  5. My eldest is Arianna which I don’t always publish (gremlin it could have been too tho!!) ha. That’s quite a rare one but I hope not too odd! I haven’t heard any crazy ones in a while actually but it’s a minefield picking one. I’ve heard lots of kids are being named after game of thrones characters 🙂 X#thatfridaylinky

  6. We spent ages thinking of names for our youngest. It is a huge responsibility. I always wanted to be called Elizabeth when I was younger so now that is my daughter’s middle name. #ThatFridayLinky

  7. We took such a long time picky names. It felt like one of the biggest decisions we had to make. Your child would have that name for the rest of their lives (unless they changed it) but as you say it is the first thing you learn of someone. We wanted something that was not a common name but not out there. We wanted something that when seen on application forms they wouldn’t be judged. Hardest job in the world being parents! #thatfridaylinky

  8. A name is such an important part of a person. I don’t understand why some people give their kid ridiculous names as it just makes them a target for bullies. Great post. Thanks for linking up to #ThatFridayLinky

  9. You speak the truth. We thought long and hard about our daughter’s name, with a view to how she would function in society as an adult. I think too often parents focus on how their baby can stand out, and not on the adult he or she will become. #thatfridaylinky

  10. I think it’s important to give names that hopefully your children can live with as they get older not some silly whim at the time fab post mate Thanks for linking to the #THAT FRIDAY LINKY come back next week please

  11. My two are Allison and Geoffrey. Nothing big.

    The funny thing is that when I got my son’s birth certificate and SSN card, they had put Gregory. I called the hospital and told them that I they had the name wrong and the moron said that she had never heard of Geoffrey and put down Gregory and wouldn’t change it. Long story short, it took basically having to go four-letter on everybody at the hospital including the head of the department ( head of department: “Well, it isn’t her fault no one has ever been named that…” Me: “She needs to type what I write, do you blank, blank like your job.” DH: Well.. it is not out policy but we will make an exception) it finally got changed with them paying for it.

    1. I’ve never heard of anything like that before and my MIL worked in a birthing center. I would have flipped out, especially with such a benign name as Geoffrey. Who hasn’t heard of that before?

  12. I think Luke Skywalker Barnes would have been a pretty bad ass name!

    I feel you on this though. As time progresses, names get more and more bizarre. There are times I’m sure parents must hate their kids from conception to straddle them with names like Jetucky. (True story.)

    My husband and I always used our top choice name & coupled it with the others for first and middle too. Teamwork.


  13. Picking a name was super hard and not as fun as I always imagined. As a teacher I had to find one that didn’t bring bad memories or that I’d heard a million times or had a nickname I thought was too mundane. Ugh. I know despite all my efforts my girls will end up with something I’m not fond of when they go to school and are away from my control, but what’s a mom to do. Lol.

  14. it’s so hard. You want something that five other children in the same class won’t answer too but neither do you want something that says “Kick me now”. (I think we got it right, but it’s too late now!) #bigpinklink

    Luke Barnes would have been okay. Adding the Skywalker would be over-doing it. It’s good to know that I wasn’t the only person telling their OH that our child was not being named after their fandom!

  15. I hear ya! A name is so important and you have written so eloquently about the significance of it. How many of us have grown up and have had friends being teased because of unusual names or unpronounceable names? My main criteria when choosing a name has always been something that my kids will not get teased about, after all, their last name is one that people do tease them about. So I had to make sure their first names would be easy to pronounce and just standard. So yes, they have boring classic names. Thanks for sharing with #bigpinklink

  16. I think people try to emulate their favourite celebrities although at least Blue Ivy isn’t some joke at the poor kid’s expense (I don’t think so anyway…). My cousin recently had a baby and they’ve called him Byron. When we asked what the thought process was behind that she said “Well we both liked Thomas but it didn’t really work with our surname”. Their surname is Hanks.. Thanks for linking up Jeremy 🙂 #thetruthabout

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