A post on popular parenting forum Mumsnet has many (including us) scratching their heads and wondering what possible justification there could be for this copycat behaviour.
“Am I being unreasonable?”
The poster, with username McCormick1988, writes that the names she’s used for her two children have now been mimicked by her own sister.
She says the copycat names didn’t worry her too much, the first time around, but as she approaches the second matching name, she’s feeling more and more uncomfortable.
“I have 2 sons: Hayden and Oliver. DSis [Dear Sister] had a daughter after I had Hayden and named her Hayden I didn’t care too much as she was a girl and mine was a boy. It also didn’t matter that much. My Oliver is 2 months and she is the 3rd trimester of her pregnancy and has announced he’s an Oliver. Different middle names but still! AIBU [am I being unreasonable?] to think this is a bit unfair?”
When bewildered and outraged respondents to the post questioned her relationship with her sister and pondered the copycat sister’s mental health, the mum-of-two responded explaining that her sister thinks she’s the one who stole the names.
“We get on and everything. It’s a pretty good relationship. She says I was fortunate enough to fall pregnant first and took her name. I had no idea if she was thinking of those names or not,” McCormick1988 wrote.
She said her family has mixed feelings about her sister’s baby name choices, and the whole situation is making her feel terrible.
“My mum thinks it’s ‘nice’ but then my name is my aunt’s … My dad thinks it’s a bit strange. Other family laugh, not sure what their honest opinions are. I’m actually a bit sad and I suppose that’s why I said I don’t think it’s fair,” she elaborated.
“A terrible idea”
We totally get where she’s coming from and can’t imagine having to broach this uncomfortable topic with our own siblings.
“Of course I told her I think it was a terrible idea,” the upset mum explained, “and that’s when she declared that it has always been her favourite name.” She said the naming similarities extend to the kids’ middle initials, too.
“I wonder if it’s just a coincidence or on purpose. My Hayden is Hayden Robert and hers is Hayden Rose. My Oliver is Oliver John and hers will be Oliver James (already announced on FB so definitely happening) see how the middle names have the same letter!?”
The vast majority of Mumsnet commenters were as confused and weirded out by this situation as we are.
“I’m not a fan of people ‘claiming their names’ within friendship groups and families (aka if I have a boy it’ll be Noah so now none of you can have Noah), but when the children are ALREADY HERE and she’s like for like copying it’s just a little weird,” one wrote.
But some people had some interesting perspectives on matching names.
One commenter pointed out that in many cultures, matching names were the norm:
“In some places the name is used over and over – Ireland – Everyone is a ‘Michael’ so you have Mick, young Mick, old Mick, Cousin Mick, Uncle Mick, Mary’s Mick, Mick the butcher, One Eyed Mick etc etc – and that’s the risk you run with two people with the same name, you need a descriptor to distinguish, so the children might well be Mary’s Oliver and Jane’s Oliver, or they could be Big Oliver and Little Oliver – or it could take a turn and have Ginger Oliver, Fat Oliver, Oliver with the Cross-Eyes.”
Another said the same thing has happened in her family, but it hasn’t posed any problems, thus far, due to geographical separation.
“Both of my Mum’s sisters named their sons Andrew. I don’t think it has ever been a problem, but then again one family live in the US and the other here in England and I don’t think the cousins have actually ever met each other!”
Another respondent, a teacher, said she’d encountered a family where a mother named two of her own baby boys very, very similarly.
“I taught a kid who was her mum’s 2nd child. She had a brother a year older called Stephen. She bounded up to me a few weeks into term and said, ‘Miss, my mum’s had the baby’ (I didn’t even know mum was pg as had never met her – turns out this was baby #7). I asked her, “What’s the baby’s name?” and she replied, “Steven”. I asked her, isn’t that your big brother’s name and she replied, “Yes, but they are called after their dads”. The 7 kids had 5 dads between them.”
The post uncovered another distressed mum, whose own twin sister was planning to use her son’s name, Jack, for the little boy she was expecting. Gosh.
“My twin sister is having a baby soon,” the upset twin wrote. “They are going to name him Jack, the same as my son (Jack is my brother-in-law’s Dad’s name). I am v upset with them, especially as they know how I feel. I wish this didn’t upset me as much as it does, but my boy is nearly 12, and we have a v small and close family. I feel that people will talk about this, and I don’t understand why they would want to have this controversy in their lives.”
Wow. Surely this doesn’t happen all that often? It seems unfathomable that siblings would want their offspring to have the same names. And also very confusing for all involved.
What are your thoughts on this? Is it totally weird? Or no big deal? And have you ever heard of such a thing?!