Go Ahead: Judge Me Based on My Kid's Name

5 years ago

Sarah Maizes is judging me. 

She put it out there on MSNBC today, right there in the headline, the photo caption, and her jaunty paragraphs about children's names.

Of course, she wasn't talking specifically about ME, but my son's name made her list of offensive names. Or maybe it's not offensive, but it's old, pretentious, and hipster, in her mind.


I couldn't be clear. She had to tell me her point in the final paragraph.

I'm still confused, because I don't think my son's name is so outrageous. I knew when I picked it that it wasn't terribly popular, and I was bummed when the author put it in Twilight. (Gawk!) But it's beautiful and classic.

My overall takeaway: if she met me, she wouldn't expect a playdate with me because of what I named my child.

But here's the thing: she has met me.

She met me at BlogHer '11, where we both presented. She was pitching her book during the "How to Pitch a Book" session.

I was huge and pregnant, I was friendly, I dressed nicely, and I sat in an uncomfortable chair for the entire session to hear what she had to say.

Afterward, I approached the panel with questions and to compliment the session. I left thinking, she seemed funny and down-to-earth, someone I could relate to as a mother. Someone who would probably get a lot of laughs at playdate.

After all, the woman had a book out called "Got MILF?", along with a blog and website which documents the humorous parts of being a mother, a writer, and a woman.

I doubt she remembers. There were a lot of people.

But I like to think that no matter how brief and uneventful, my impression on her was a good one. I suspect had she known what I was planning to name that unborn baby, that would have changed. Anyway, during her session, she gave out a lot of insider advice about the writing industry, and she spoke a little about names and respect. (That's a link to the session transcript, if you want to read the whole thing.)

So, you can imagine my surprise when she wrote her essay for TodayMoms, disrespecting other moms and the names of their babies.

Names. Respect. Hmmm.

Her article, which I think was meant to be funny, opened up the gates, and anonymous commenters felt free to write comments such as: "If you name your kid Jayden, Jasper or Jumanji, you deserve to have your child taken away from you." 

Moms judging other moms.


And so old.

Between breastfeeding, vaccinations, to cut or not to cut, family bed vs bedrooms, baby-wearing vs. stroller, cloth vs disposable ... as if we moms needed another reason to judge each other.

I understand judging me for leaving the house with a comb in my hair.

Sneer at me for thinking yoga pants in public is acceptable.

But this?

I realize I'm taking this more personally because my son's name made her list. (So did my grandmother's.) And maybe I'm being a little too Pollyanna (very old, very classic name) when I say I wish she made better use of a national platform geared toward mothers, that instead of bashing other moms and their choices, she actually wrote something funny.

I mean, bashing Jessica Simpson? She couldn't be more original?

So here's MY point: you don't have to like my kids names and you can think I'm looney for choosing them, but it reflects more on you when you pass such judgement.

And one final thought: Sarah mentioned in her article she didn't get a playdate with the beret-wearing mother.

I can promise you the reason wasn't the names of the children.


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