I am the owner of a boring name. It was the #2 name in the year I came to be and I was always one of several in my school class. I always wished for something more unique and decided early in life not to bestow such popular names on my own future children. I am the now the proud momma of four lovely little ladies ages 10, 6, 2 and 4 months. So I have given much thought into the naming process over the years.
While I was expecting girl #3 I discovered the joy of on-line chat rooms devoted to nothing but baby names. I was overjoyed and quickly became a regular poster. It was a wonderful way to get honest, unfiltered opinions on our name list. Some of the advice was a touch harsh but I found the raw gut reactions helpful. There is nowhere else I would find such blatant, unapologetic reactions. Face to face interaction is always confined to the politics of manners but that is not generally the case with the anonymity of the Internet. And of course being the fountain of opinion that I am, I loved having an outlet from which I could dispense my advice.
Which brings us here where it is my turn to write something. I thought it best to start with a subject personal to me, hippie names. All of my girls have a nature element to their names. When people hear their names I get a variety of responses that range from compliments to a blank stare. My favorite bizarre comment over time has been that my daughter Maya’s name (Maya Sunshine) sounds like a designer strain of Marijuana. I take it all in stride because I love their names and so do they.
My belief is that the key to bridging the gap between a cute palatable hippie name and a oh wow mom and dad must do drugs hippie name is all about balance. Using a more traditional name with a more unusual name gives a slightly more grounded feel and gives a name options for professional use later in life if needed. Take my daughter’s name for example, had I combined Sunshine with another hippie name like say Summer Sunshine or Aura Sunshine it may have become too much for the general population. If perhaps you are very attached to the literal meaning or visual imagery of a name I recommend doing some research for names with a similar meaning. A name like Sunny Sky may seem like a lovely name for a child now but as an adult it may be a touch juvenile. But if you went with something like Aurelia (meaning golden) Sky it becomes more versatile and appealing to a broader spectrum. Of course matters of acceptability and what is too much are purely subjective. I truly believe that no parent sets out to create a name that anyone find silly or bizarre.
Another recommendation is to test drive a name by introducing yourself by the name you are considering. If you cannot tell the guy at the quick change oil that your name is Atomic Angel without feeling a little goofy that is a good indicator that a child with that name may feel the same someday.
Always bear in mind that regardless of the lifestyle the parents have chosen the child could grow up to be different. Despite all my objections and motherly guidance my little Maya Sunshine may grow up to be an ultra conservative woman who thinks mom is a crackpot. In that case she can just go with Maya S on her business card and thank her lucky stars that I did not name her Sunshine Daydream instead.