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Am I a Diva Mom?

My husband and I are expecting our second child, a girl. We are considering giving her my middle name as her middle name, mostly because it sounds good with the first name we have chosen for her. We gave our son my surname as his middle name. Is it too narcissistic to name both children after myself? Both names are very unique and it's obvious that they are mine.
- Making it All About Me?

In naming, the lines between family traditions and narcissism can get a little blurry.  Some people think naming a son Junior is unforgivably egotistical, others that it’s classic and charmingly old-fashioned. But until we cross over into George Foreman territory (five sons named George!), it’s pretty clear that differences of opinion on family names are just that—opinions. Everyone’s entitled to one, no one is objectively right.

Naming children after their mothers is a little more unusual in this day and age, but a glance at an 18th- or 19th-century family Bible will reveal that it’s also a long-standing practice that acknowledges the powerful links between generations.  What’s more, I presume from your reference to your “maiden name” that your children bear their father’s surname. This is such a standard American practice that you didn’t even bother to mention it. But if giving two children surnames after one parent is reasonable, is it really so “narcissistic” to give them middle names after the other? I’d read it as an admirably balanced approach: honoring both sides of the family, while leaving the first name to be a joint choice based on your personal tastes.

While you feel certain both children’s middle names will read as “obviously” yours, that’s a short-term issue that only applies to your immediate circle. Unless the names are MyMomIsTheBest and MommyLovesMe, future classmates, employers, spouses, and acquaintances will have no idea about the names’ motherly origin.

For the people who will know—your close friends and family members—I recommend a proactive approach. You can mention the maternal connection yourself, explaining  that you and your husband wanted to connect your kids’s names to both sides of the family. If that makes your nearest and dearest re-envision you as a narcissistic egomaniac, then I’d suggest that the problem runs deeper than names.


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November 4, 2013 4:31 PM
By another anon (not verified)

Definitely not a diva. I love it when kids get names from both parent's families.
I couldn't tell if you and your husband share a last name, but if you don't, and your kids will have his last name as a surname, giving your son your surname as a middle name was a very good idea.(It can help with old-fashioned bureaucrats and paperwork.) You might consider doing the same for all your kids, at least as a second middle name.

November 5, 2013 1:16 PM
By Stephanie (not verified)

Not a diva at all - my brother and I both have family names without being precisely named after anyone in particular, and we both love that our names make us feel very connected to our family. (I should point out that it's fairly common practice on my mother's side of the family to reuse family names.) In fact, I actually have my mother's middle name, and I plan to pass it on to my own eldest daughter as her middle name, too. Those who've pointed out that since the kids are (presumably) getting dad's surname, it's only fair that they get a name from your side, too, are also correct. And since it likely won't be a name your daughter uses every day, she won't be made to feel like she's living in your shadow, but rather that her name has a nice, subtle connection to yours.

November 5, 2013 1:44 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

To the extent that another example is helpful, my wife and I have 4 children. They all have my last name. They each have a middle name from my wife's side of the family: (i) Her last name, (ii) her middle name (which is her mother's last name), (iii) her father's mother's last name, and (iv) her mother's mother's last name.

To us, it seemed like a way to honor both sides of the family in the naming. It didn't seem overly diva to me, but perhaps I'm diva-whipped?

In any event, good luck with your number 2!

November 5, 2013 3:32 PM
By nedibes (not verified)

The only woman I know personally who named her daughter after herself is, in fact, incredibly self-centered--but even if she'd picked out a completely unique name for her daughter her narcissism would be clear. And if you aren't a narcissist, that should also be clear regardless of your baby's name. So the question to ask yourself isn't really whether your choice of name is narcissistic, but rather whether it is symptomatic of a larger issue that you want to work on or whether (more likely) you are a generally balanced person with a number of good reasons to pick this name (one of which might be ego--a little bit is normal and healthy).

November 5, 2013 6:08 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I agree with Laura: the practice of children taking their father's last name is so rooted that you don't even notice that they're all named after him. Does that make him a diva? I think it's great that you're honoring your family with your children's names.

November 6, 2013 12:04 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

My first name is a feminine form of my father's name. My middle name is my mother's nickname. Not once did I ever consider this to be egotistical on their part. (More likely they were expecting a boy rather than another girl, and had to think of something fast.) Why would it be egotistical when it's standard practice to name a son after the father?

November 6, 2013 7:41 AM
By Carlee (not verified)

I don't think it's bad. My parents had four children (girl, boy, girl, boy- I'm the oldest). The older two have our parents' first names as our middle names, and the younger two have our parents' middle names as their middle names. We like it, because it's a nice connection to our parents.

November 6, 2013 12:56 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

No, of course not. No one thinks twice about children getting their father's last names, or boys getting their father's first name. And I know lots of people who give all the kids the mother's maiden name as a middle name.

This is no different.

November 7, 2013 1:41 PM
By Christi with an I (not verified)

My friend has two children. Her son has a version on her middle name (which is a version of her dad's first name) and her mom's maiden name as middle names. her daughter has mom's middle name and the middle name of a very special friend as her two middle names. So each one got a version of their mother's middle name as a middle name but also one to honor someone else special to the family. I don't think that it is being a diva just wanting her kids to feel connected to her and to each other.

November 18, 2013 10:00 AM
By Ruby (not verified)

A note about George Foreman and his many sons named George: the name choices were chosen not out of narcissism, but because he had brain damage. All of the boxing he did really did some serious long-term damage to him, to the point where he couldn't remember any name beyond his own name. Without knowing the full details, however, it's easy to see how people can accuse him of narcissism on this.

November 19, 2013 3:31 AM
By (not verified)

I don't see anything wrong with that as long that the name you'll be giving to your child is cute and unique. :) Can you post the image of your kids here? I want to see them. :)

December 3, 2013 10:29 PM
By nam lim xanh tri ung thu (not verified)

good for kid

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