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Carrying on with traditional naming conventions can be a beautiful way to honour family members who have passed and build a connection to your ancestory or the ancestory of your partner.
But what happens when the baby name tradition doesn’t sit that well with you? Can you be the first person to branch out on your own and go in a different direction entirely from everyone else in the family?
That’s the question that was posed by a mum-to be, who took to Reddit as part of their Would I Be the A**hole (WIBTA) threads to ask: “WIBTA if I didn’t carry on a tradition of baby names?”
The 26yo mum-to-be gets along well with the family of her 28yo fiancé, claiming that both of them were “super close” with each other’s families.
“John’s family has the weird tradition of naming the girls things like ‘Desire’, ‘Confidence’, ‘Wisdom’, etc.” she writes. “John’s sister is literally called Destiny and her daughters are called Inspiration and Courage. (I’m not making these up).”
She goes on to clarify: “The boys have super normal names.”
The pair, who do not know the gender of their baby, have hit a snag when it comes to the tradition of his family.
“Both John and I really want a girl, but I don’t want to give her a name that fits with the ones previously mentioned,” the mum-to-be says.
“I brought this up to John’s family at a dinner party and they all got super upset – they said this traditional was coined all the way back in the 1860s when their family became free (apparently the first female in their family that was born free after 1860 was literally called Freedom- and so a tradition was born).
“They’re putting a lot of pressure on me to pick a name that fits with theirs. John says that it means a lot to him, too.
“WIBTA for not carrying the tradition?”
“I think I may be the asshole for not wanting to carry on a tradition of baby names, even though it has deep roots and is very important to my fiancé.”
Commenters, who can vote on whether they think a poster in the WIBTA threads is indeed an a**hole voting overwhelmingly that NO … the mum-to-be would be within her rights to deny the family tradition of her partner, however many had something to say on the matter.
Most commenters urged the OP to find a middle ground that honoured the family tradition.
“You are not TA for how you feel, but you do need to find a name you like that also respects your partner’s wishes,” suggested one diplomatic commenter.
“Personally I wouldn’t tell them you don’t want to continue the tradition as you’re pretty much insulting every woman in the family – whatever name you pick, I’d emphasise the ‘meaning’ of it to win them over,” said another.
“There are a lot of female names that do mean something but aren’t just directly taken from other words. Sophia means wisdom and Hannah means favour or grace,” suggested another. “Maybe there is a compromise that can be reached by researching the meaning of different names.”
Is it an a**hole move to deny the tradition of your partner’s family?
Others were quick to suggest that the tradition needed to stop.
“If my name was freedom, courage or inspiration I’d think my parents were assholes,’ joked one such commenter.
“As someone with a weird name, DO NOT GIVE YOUR CHILD A WEIRD NAME,” urged another. “I don’t care what his family tradition is or how cute you think it is. You are setting your child up for a lifetime of bullying and missed career opportunities by having a unique or unusual name. Buy him a goldfish to call Temperance.”
Another suggested that it was sexist for only the females of the family to be burdened with the tradition. “I say NTA because it’s an unfair tradition! For only the girls to have names that might cause them discomfort in life is sexist and ridiculous!”
What do you think? Is it an a**hole move to deny the tradition of your partner’s family?