Parents are constantly shamed for their choices. From how we feed our children to how we educate them, everyone has an opinion on how to raise kids. The result? Moms and dads feel endlessly judged for the choices they make — even if they have no other options. This week, families around the country are sharing their inspiring, funny, honest, and heartbreaking stories with Yahoo Parenting in an effort to spark conversations, a little compassion, and change in the way we think about parenting forever. Share your story with us — #NoShameParenting.
When new father Christopher welcomed his first child, the Seattle Seahawks superfan immediately shared his love for the NFL franchise with his newborn daughter — by naming her after their defensive team, the “Legion of Boom.”
On Sunday, Seattle’s King5 News shared a photo of the adorable baby girl, born September 20, in which she’s sporting a hat and blanket plastered with the Seahawks logo, along with Christopher’s explanation for the unusual name, on its Facebook page. “We are big Seahawks fans and when we were thinking of names for our daughter, we wanted something that stood for strength and resilience. We named her Elloebee, after the LOB!”
The L.O.B., which one report identifies as basically every player who has suited up to play defensive back for Seattle since 2012, was born when Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor described in an interview how his team liked to “bring the boom,” and a fan then dubbed the crew the “Legion of Boom.”
It’s perhaps fitting, then, that the social media reaction to the family’s name choice has been powerful. More than 4,900 people have “liked” the image and hundreds are debating the merits of the moniker with as much passion as the players bring to the game. (Christopher, whose last name is unknown, didn’t immediately respond to Yahoo Parenting’s request for comment.) “She will hate it growing up sorry,” wrote one commenter. And another’s remark, “poor thing,” has gotten more than 158 likes.
But for every criticism of the complicated spelling (“Now your child will have to spell their name every time for the rest of their life and people will ask if it’s a he or she when not in person,” blasted a different commenter) and the unusual nature of it (“Unique names are a curse,” vented still another), there are as many congratulating little Elloebee for her one-of-a-kind name. “My name is Eponine,” shared a supporter. “Super ‘weird’ but I love it. Don’t hate [because] your parents weren’t unique!” Pep talks are peppered in among the responses as well. “She will treasure her name because it’s a name you made up for her that no one else has!!!!” swears a proponent. “She is very lucky. Just ignore the naysayers.”
And as unusual as “Elloebee” may be, name expert Pamela Satran of the website Nameberry, tells Yahoo Parenting that Christopher and his wife are actually right on trend. “It’s becoming more and more common for parents to completely make up names,” she says. “There were over 50 percent more baby names recorded by the Social Security Administration last year versus 30 years ago,” she explains, noting that the current number of names recorded is 33,000, compared to only 20,000 in 1984. “And it stands to reason that thousands of those are invented from thin air.”
Giving a child a name with personal meaning is another “major trend,” says Satran, author of The Baby Name Bible. “This might be accomplished by using Grandma’s maiden name as a first or combining two ancestor names to create a new one.” Then there’s letting grandparents make a mark by paying to choose the name, as a new article details, which is considered a controversial practice. But meaning can also be shown simply through choosing a moniker with ethnic significance or geographical importance (think: the place where mom and dad honeymooned) or one that reveals a value to the family in terms of animals, nature, or concepts, like Justice.
“In the current baby-name landscape, Elloebee is a pretty good invention,” says Satran. “It even sounds like a name, and it lends itself to some cute mainstream nicknames, like Ellie or Bee.”
Team Elloebee or not, consider this: “People get their hackles up over baby name choices no matter what they are,” says Satran. “If you name your child something popular, like Sophia or Noah, some people are going to rant about how you should have tried harder and you’re condemning your child to be one of many in every classroom. And if you pick something unusual,” she continues, “then they say you’re doing your child a disservice or she’s going to hate her name.”
If others’ opinions could be an issue, Satran reasons, it may be wise to wait to reveal the name until after the baby is born, as that’s a time when “fewer people are rude enough to say they don’t like it.”
(Top photo: Facebook/King5News)