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Little girls often dream of what they will one day name their babies. But, once they’re grown up and expecting those babies, it can come as a rude shock when their partners actually express ideas and preferences of their own.
In fact, a recent U.K. survey reveals that picking a baby name is the most common fight among expectant parents.
The Telegraph reports that, according to the survey, 75 percent of first-time parents bicker over what to call little Jacob or Sophia. Only 28 percent of couples argued over whether or a mom should return to work, and just 27 percent debated whether to have a second child, so you can see what a hot-button issue baby names really are.
Now, full disclosure, the survey was conducted by a British website called myvouchercodes.co.uk – so, it isn’t the kind of reliable, scientific survey that a Nate Silver-type would trust when making his election-night predictions. But, we have to say, the results sound about right.
Why is it so hard to agree on a name?
“Choosing a name can tap into deep, previously-unexplored issues about family, tradition, gender, image, one’s very identity. It may be the first important test of control and compromise. And the problems around choosing a name can feel all the more disturbing because you think it’s supposed to be so easy and fun,” reports Pamela Redmond Satran of Nameberry.com.
Laura Wattenberg, creator of BabyNameWizard.com, says that picking a baby name is harder now than it used to be. “I liken baby names to the dress code. We’ve thrown away the office dress code when it comes to naming,” Wattenberg told TODAY Moms. “We’ve seen a revolution in naming where there is no such thing as a ‘normal’ name. And, while there is still a number one name, it’s only a fraction as popular as the number one name was years ago.”
If you and your partner are among the lucky few who are in complete agreement, pat yourselves on the back and start decorating the nursery. However, if you’re part of the majority of couples who have a hard time coming to a consensus, there are ways to reach a happy agreement.
Some ideas from Nameberry: set yourselves up a baby-naming rotation. You name one kid, your partner names the next. Or, divvy the names up by gender: you get to name the boys, your husband gets to name the girls. (Then, you pray for all boys – just kidding. Kind of.) Another tip is to have one partner come up with a list of favorites, then let the other partner pick from that list.
Wattenberg says one couple she knows took inspiration from the playoff brackets that are so popular during March Madness and created a “Name Madness Bracket” to make the process more fun and less contentious. Another idea she suggests is to have each parent write down their top 10 names, then switch lists. Each parent then gets to cross off seven of their partner’s names, so you start with a list of just six names.
If you’re really trusting, you could outsource the job.
“I met a woman recently, the mom of twins, who let her parents and in-laws each name one baby. It gave the grandparents an important and exciting way to be involved, and lightened the psychic load for her and her husband. While this runs counter to all conventional baby-naming wisdom, it might make sense if you trust your parents’ taste and you don’t have any clear preferences,” says Nameberry.com’s Satran. The payoff is likely a bunch of grandparents who are happy to pick up extra babysitting shifts.
Did you and your partner fight over baby names or were you on the same page? Weigh in on the TODAY Moms Facebook page.
Dana Macario is a Seattle-area mom who started debating baby names with her husband before she was even pregnant.