Am I a Diva Mom?
- 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.