I’m The Mom Who Wanted To Change My Daughter’s Middle Name To ‘Awesome’ – And You Won’t Believe The Backlash I’ve Received

Mom Who Wanted To Change Daughters Middle Name To Awesome


Monday was a rough day. First, some background.

On Valentine’s Day this year, after a bit of saving and a little help from a friend, I managed to scrape together enough money to file a petition to change my daughter’s middle name from Conteá to Awesome. It cost $150 to file the petition, and $194.36 to post legal notice in the paper, once a week for four consecutive weeks.

Spending almost $350 on anything that doesn’t involve putting a roof over our heads, maintaining my 1998 Honda Accord, or feeding and clothing kids who never seem to stop growing is not something I can afford to do lightly. It is something, however, that I felt needed to be done to correct an error I made when it came to naming my daughter.

When I was pregnant with Viviana, I didn’t want to find out the gender in advance. Frankly, I was so shocked by the pregnancy (the result of a contraception failure so unexpected that I was not even remotely concerned that I had conceived) that I was in denial for a good chunk of my pregnancy. People would ask if I was having a boy or girl and it was all I could do to tamp down the hope that I was having a puppy instead of a baby. Puppies are easier. They’re infinitely cheaper. And no one bats an eye if you keep them cordoned off in the kitchen while you are at work, and they are still potty training. I was in a committed relationship at the time, but having another baby, nearly 12 years after the first was simply not part of “The Plan.”

After a lot of soul searching, praying, talking to close friends, etc. I decided to continue with the pregnancy, even though it wasn’t part of “The Plan” and even though I knew the huge financial burden we would face as a family by welcoming a new member. The committed relationship I was in? It didn’t survive the pregnancy and by month two of gestation, I ended things romantically with the father.

I wasn’t completely alone, as some single moms unfortunately are. I was surrounded by support. Friends made me lunches, gifted me much needed maternity wear, and even watched the baby overnight on Fridays, while I was finishing up my degree, so that I could get at least one full night of sleep a week. Coworkers threw me a huge baby shower, and in addition to many wonderful gifts, they chipped in for a much-needed car sear. My roommate made the heated garage their new digs so that I would have more room in the rest of the house for my progeny – and didn’t charge me a single dollar more in rent.

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  • Kendra

    I think you should see this as a compliment, and let me explain why. I’ve noticed that people on the internet…when they have no better reason to argue against something…just default to “ugly, fat, whore” type comments. Clearly, they were not articulate enough to explain WHY they have such a problem with your daughter’s new MIDDLE name, or they don’t really take issue with it at all. And really, I don’t see why anyone cares about a middle name anyway. How many people do you actually “know” middle names of? I bet it’s quite few. I’m sorry that you got dissed on the internet, because the internet community often times truly sucks. I’m very glad that you did what you felt you should do and that your daughter has a much more fitting name now. :)

    • JenH1986

      When I would get mad when I was younger I would resort to name calling (most kids do) and I remember my mother telling me that if I had to resort to name calling, I’d already lost the argument. Because calling someone names wasn’t debating and it wasn’t fighting it was just being mean. So I agree. They just start calling people names instead of saying “I’m uncomfortable when people do things that are out of the box I was told I have to live in!”.

    • Kendra

      That is absolutely true! When people run out of real things to debate, they just start throwing out things like: you’re ignorant, you’re an idiot, you’re ugly, etc. At this point, I end the conversation because if you can’t debate without those things, then I’ve no point to continue to try to talk to you.

    • JenH1986

      I’m all for a debate. A real one where ideas are discussed and there is an attempt to understand where the other person is coming from. I find them invigorating and I enjoy hearing different perspectives or preparing myself with more info for future debates. But when it comes down to “you’re ugly” or “You’re an idiot” I’m like ok, but I’m also out because this is pointless.

    • Kendra

      I totally, totally agree. I love this website SO MUCH, because I have really been able to change perspectives on a few topics and see things a little differently. I’m always amazed at how some of the regulars here can really help me see different sides. I LOVE that. But, come on and tell me I’m an idiot because I think differently than you, and I’m done.

    • JenH1986

      Yep. There are couple people who post who disagree with most of the mommyish community. But most of us are respectful we have a good debate and call it a day. I’ve even seen some of the posters jump on people who were rude/nasty even if they agree that someone is wrong because it’s not ok to act like an asshole because you disagree with someone.

    • http://nessyhart.wordpress.com/ pixie

      Yeah, I have no problem with people disagreeing with what I say, but when they automatically start throwing out the insults, I’m out. Or the ones who come in and say provoking things and then don’t understand why people aren’t agreeing with them (though we’re being courteous) and start saying “Well I was just giving my opinion” and claiming we’re being rude and defensive.

      I feel like most of us are firmly in the “don’t be an asshole” camp. :)

    • NoMissCleo…JustMe

      I’m taking this bit of advice and putting in my “to use later” file. What a wise thing to say…

    • JenH1986

      My mom is pretty much…the shit. ;)

    • Lisa Flores

      I am with NoMissCleo on this one. Your mother is a wise woman and I plan on adding this to my “to use later” file as well. This is definitely a lesson my kids can benefit from. Hopefully, I will be able to convey it to them as eloquently and thoroughly a your mom did.

    • JenH1986

      She wasn’t so eloquent. If I remember correctly I was calling my brother a name and she said “stop being a jerk because you don’t have an argument” once I calmed down we had a real conversation about why i called him a name (because I had no comeback for his point, was frustrated and lashed out). But initially no eloquence, lol, just one frustrated woman who wanted her kids to quit bitching at each other. ha ha.

    • Bethany Ramos

      Yes, the Internet is truly “awesome,” in that respect. And I also wish Awesome was my middle name!

    • Lisa Flores

      It isn’t too late, Bethany!

  • bea

    Screw them… That name is AWESOME! :)

  • Rachel Sea

    I think you and your family are Awesome. I bet you set a trend, and in 5 years every kindergarten will have a kid with that middle name.

    I had thought any kids of mine would have family middle names, but now Awesome, or Danger, or Trouble are sounding pretty good.

    • OptimusPrime*

      Have triplets and have all three! Or, you know, not. Whatevs.

    • Lisa Flores

      Or quadruplets! I have a friend whose middle name is Drama (it is his mother’s maiden name), and that would fit right it with Awesome, Danger, and Trouble ;)

    • Momma425

      Omg, I am stealing drama for my future kids’ middle name!

  • Véronique Houde

    This is an awesomely CLASSY response to all the haters – and a great website on which to post it!!!! And you my friend are also a very funny human being. I think you’re the awesome one – and perhaps all of the awesomeness rubbed off on your kids!

    • Jeanne William


      ✒✒✒ �✒✒✒ ✒✒✒ ✒✒✒ ✒�✒✒

  • Kelly

    I honestly didn’t even read this story, when I saw it posted on Mommyish or anywhere else. I thought to myself that I would never name my kid Awesome, but, meh. Why would I want to read about someone that did?

    And then I clicked on this article today. What a lovely, lovely story about your son, your daughter, and your village of support. So much sweeter and more charming that I ever could have imagined. You, mama, you are Doing It Right. But then again, sounds like you already know that. :)

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      She is the sweetest. she emailed me after I covered her story the sweetest email and I demanded she write about it for you guys because I thought it was such a dear account of her whole story and her son and how it came to be.

    • Kelly

      Her little boy…well, young man, really…he seems like such a good kid. He looks so happy and proud in the pictures. What a great big brother!

  • KSo

    I wish my kids’ middle names were “Awesome” and “Danger!” Love that! I tried to be somewhat original with their middle names, but they’re not nearly this cool.

  • Jaclyn

    Wow, people really can be dicks. Go on with you Awesome self anyway :)

  • G.E. Phillips

    I don’t know what else to say except…..Welcome to Mommyish, which clearly has the highest ratio of fantastic-to-douchey commenters on the entire Interwebs. You’re obviously the shiz, as are Viviana Awesome and, of course, Dominic. Thank you for sharing your story!

    • Lisa Flores

      I could not agree more regarding Mommyish’s commenters!

      I stumbled upon Eve’s opinion of the name change and the input of the community members after I had bumped in to all of that ugliness at gma.yahoo.com. It was like a balm to my soul to see that there were people out there who “got it” and who, even if they didn’t agree with what I was doing, weren’t going to bash my children as a result.

      Mommyish definitely has an extremely high fantastic-to-douchery commenter ratio. I am so glad to be here. It feels like coming home.

  • SA

    I have a note on my desk that says “You are Awesome”….it makes me feel great every time I look at it. Why not bestow a name that lets the child feel, well, AWESOME! And you kept a promise to your son. What could be sweeter?

  • Kat

    I don’t really care about names that are off the radar, or even on the radar. What you name your kid is up to you. But at least you had a great reason! & I find it hilarious! I wish I had thought of something as great as this! :) .

  • BW2

    Great article! Are you a regular Mommyish reader?

    Eve, I just want to say that you have done great things with Mommyish recently. You include so many different writers with great perspective that gets a good discussion going. My only question is, what has happened to Eckler?? I understand she was disliked by many readers and her book has ticked a lot of people off, but the comment section of her articles were very entertaining!

    • Lilly

      she just had a book published — so I assume she is doing book promo stuff. The joke of course is the book is about how mean internet commenters are towards her — I suspect a lot fewer people will comment on her future posts since apparently they were unknownly fodder for her.


    • Mystik Spiral

      I couldn’t help but notice Wreckler’s absence too… But I’m firmly holding out hope that she was fired for taking our comments and making a “woe is me” book out of them. Don’t ruin my fantasy. >:(

    • brebay

      But seriously, she could churn out her drivel on her phone in the time it took her to take a poop, not a huge literary commitment…

    • Rachel Sea

      Wow. 304 pages of total hypocrisy. Classy.

    • K2

      Trying to read just the preview is terrible – and I mean the writing, not the content (which is also terrible). But yeah, the writing is awful.

    • waffre

      Amazon’s link for the book abbreviates the title to “Mommy Mob: Inside Outrageous Blogging” so I was disappointed to see the full title upon clicking the link, because I was envisioning a book admitting she was trolling us all.

    • pineapples

      Agreed! I use to LOVE reading the comments section for her articles!

  • Ashley Austrew

    I love this whole story, and seriously? Screw people! It’s super sweet, and you sound like a such a loving parent. If people want to find something ugly in that, that’s on them.

  • Melissa Burris

    When I seen that the negative comments were posted on a Yahoo article, it all made sense. Yahoo is a “common” website, (meaning they cover such a wide variety of topics, it has a broad audience) so of course the majority of the comments are going to be made by horrible people. That’s why I enjoy websites like Mommyish and others that target a specific audience, the comments tend to be more respectful and well thought-out.

  • courtneth

    My son’s middle name is Danger. It’s one of my prouder moments in life.

    • Edify

      Mine too!

  • Momma425

    Honestly, I heard that a woman was naming her daughter Awesome in the news and didn’t have one negative thought. It’s not something I would pickfor my kid- but neither are a whole lot of other names out there. It’s not inappropriate (see baby name listhere- some people name their kids Hitler) or offensive.

    It’s too bad that peoplemade such a huge deal out of it- but hearing your positivity is
    refreshing. I’m sure your daughter will grow up to be just as awesome as her mother.

  • guest

    Yeah, I know never to read the comments on ANY article on a site like Yahoo or Youtube etc. The people that frequent those places honestly I think only go there to bash everyone a good portion of the time. You keep kickin ass Mom and I’m sure your little girl will too.
    PS. Love the name Viviana

  • LadyClodia

    Thanks so much for sharing your story! Your and your son both sound amazing, and it’s so great that you want to honor him with the name change. I really hope that the judge agrees to your daughter being Viviana Awesome!

  • lin

    You guys seem like an amazing family and your response to the crazy internet comment section is so very perfect!

  • http://overthecuckoonest.blogspot.com/ Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

    What the actual fuck is wrong with people? First off, obviously they can’t read, because can I be honest? I have no idea what the middle names of any of my doctors or lawyers have been…in my entire life. Ever. First names, maybe. Middle names? NOPE.

    I’m sorry you went through all of that. Those people are assholes…as in, Grade A assholes.

    • http://nessyhart.wordpress.com/ pixie

      Also, I’ve never really understood when people are like “well I’d NEVER hire someone with a yoonique name. If I got two resumes, one was for a Filip and the other for a John, I’d hire John”
      The problem is, how do we know that the “yoonique” name isn’t actually a cultural name. The example I used, Filip, is Hungarian (I’m assuming for Philip). So by only hiring people with “normal” sounding names, aren’t we kind of being ignorant asses?

      Although, I know my GP’s first name and call her by that name, because I can’t pronounce her last name (she’s Sri Lankan).

    • http://overthecuckoonest.blogspot.com/ Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      That’s a really good point. I’ve honestly done a lot of hiring given the age that I am, for both salaried management positions and hourly positions. I’ve also sat on boards for hiring people that would be my superiors (one company used a 180 degree hiring process during interviewing). I can safely say I have never encountered someone who was turned down for having a unique name. I’m not saying that it doesn’t happen, because people are assholes, but I’ve did that enough times to feel confident that even if one or two assholes turn her down for her name, Young Awesome (who sounds like the hero of an epic tale) will be able to find more that are open-minded. And really, which would you rather work for?

    • http://nessyhart.wordpress.com/ pixie

      Yeah, I would hope so. And obviously, with a name like mine, I’d much rather work for the open-minded person. ;)

      I’ve just seen soooo many comments on the STFUP name posts that are basically what I outlined above that it makes me sad. Though it makes me happy that there are people like you out there who don’t really care what the person’s name it.

    • http://overthecuckoonest.blogspot.com/ Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      There are quite a few. And you know around here we are not known for our open-mindedness, so, there’s that.

      I think unique names are one of those things that give you a chuckle–I know I get one–and then you move on. It’s the parents’ choice, unfortunately in some cases, and if the kid really hate it, they can change it later on.

    • Lilly

      Except sadly, there has been a fair amoutn of reserach that indicates ethnic or “urban black” names on resumes do get less callbacks — but in this case that doesn’t hold since it is a middle name and very few people put that on their resumes.

      I would be curious to see how this plays out over time as more hipsters keep going with the younique naming trend

      a couple of links about the issue:

    • http://nessyhart.wordpress.com/ pixie

      Which was what I was kind of getting at with my comment. It creates more of a racial divide and even just a cultural divide in general. And there are a lot of names out there that are legitimate names, just uncommon or used more in the UK/Europe (brings to mind someone making a comment a while back about the name “Rhys” – which is a real, Welsh male name – after I had made a comment about it, and how they thought it was yoonique and why can’t parents just spell it “Reese” – which is the anglicized version; thankfully, a bunch of people called them out on it). I know there’s research that less common, and more ethnic or “urban black” sounding names get less callbacks, and that makes me kind of sad. Why do we have to automatically judge a Laquisha based on her name before even meeting her? She could be the best worker ever, and Mary could be a lazy slob. Also, I used to know a white girl named Latoya.

      I do get that it’s her middle name, so it’s sort of a moot point, but the comment about people saying they wouldn’t want a doctor named Awesome reminded me of that.

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      TBH, I’d hire Filip because the fact that the Hungarian language is only connected to one other language on Earth, and that tenuously (Korean!) in spite of the fact that the Hungarians have been conquered by just about every major European power known to history and has somehow resisted change for centuries fascinates me no end, and I’d be cornering Filip in the break room all the damn time for his insights into it. Which is probably just as bad as hiring John because of his more “normal” name, so I should probably remain an independent freelancer.

    • pineapples

      I would soo do this too!

    • Chris

      Hungarian is actually part of the Uralic language family that also includes Finnish and Estonian as well as a few minor languages that exist in specific regions in the Western part of Russia.

      Not trying to be bitchy, just a way-too-passionate linguist trying to spread the love!

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      That is true! I forgot about the “Finno” part of Finno-Ugric! :P

    • http://nessyhart.wordpress.com/ pixie

      Ha, yeah, and also just about every Hungarian is related to Genghis Khan and/or Attila the Hun. ;)
      (My maternal grandfather was Hungarian, though I never really knew him)

    • Natalie

      I have a friend name Filip and he’s Macedonian and constantly tells me how Macedonians ruled the world (which is semi true, Alexander the Great and all) even though it’s only been a country since 1992. He also can speak any language related to Macedonia, which is a ton, since they also semi created languages in most of Eastern Europe. I’ve personally heard him speak to Macedonians, Albanians, Serbians, Russians, Solvaks. (among the other 7 languages he speak that have no Macedonian roots). So…. Hire a Filip!

  • LK

    Oh Lordy, Beward comment sections. I love the articles on Mommyish, but I read it equally because the comments lack the total douchebaggery that are pretty much mandatory in all other comment sections on the internet.

    • http://overthecuckoonest.blogspot.com/ Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      At least if there is douchebaggery here, it is fun to fuck with it a little. ;)

    • NoMissCleo…JustMe

      And that is why I miss the down vote option…I always knew exactly who the douchebags were.

    • http://overthecuckoonest.blogspot.com/ Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      I miss it so much. I don’t even know what the point of it is now.

    • NoMissCleo…JustMe

      I know. It just sits there, mocking us…reminding us of what could be…

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      Totally OT, but the last part of your comment made me start humming that Led Zeppelin song, “What Is and What Should Never Be.” Dammit, why can’t my life be a rock musical?!

  • journalgal2

    Not a name I would choose, but so what? She’s a beautiful little girl and has a great story of how her name came to be.

  • Kat

    “Ugly” is just as dumb as “whore.” What ugly? I see no ugly here.

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      Seriously. Especially since those are awesome glasses. I wish my prescription were thin enough that I could wear wire-rims like those!

  • K.

    So please read the whole thing before you flame me.
    1. I don’t agree with the vitriol. People suck; most of those people are nasty dipshits.
    2. I’m fine with your daughter’s middle-name, but I love the story behind it much, much more
    3. I think this article is an elegant response to the haters
    4. I respect you—I don’t think you’re ugly, stupid, poor, a whore or any of those things.

    That’s me.

    I was trying to figure out why *others* who are not me might react differently. I read the linked article. And I have to say that the vitriol—while still in NO WAY appropriate—gives me some theories as to why people have been so awful, and it’s not really you, but more in the way the article is written. Weird to say because it’s a boring little human interest story that uses basis “reporterese” but something about it I think makes it easy for others to find you smug and entitled (again, you’re not smug or entitled, but look at the introductory phrase alone–“‘if this mom ‘gets her way’…”), and the content kind of hits on a lot of people’s bullseyes: parent exceptionalism (what they perceive as “I named my kid Awesome because MY kid is the awesomest super speshyl snowflayke evah!,” yoonique names, and some choice quotes that (again, I don’t think this, but I can see how some people would take it and run) make you sound frivolous. In short, your explanation here gives me a very different picture than I think some would get from the article you linked.

    I think that it’s people’s right to say, “You know…Awesome’s a stupid middle name” or “That’s a ridiculous thing to do.” But being critical of the name is not attacking you personally. Calling you a whore and all that is NOT okay. And it’s also way, way more disturbing to me that people are so quick to jump on misogynistic insults because you…what? Wanted something and went out and got it and had the audacity to do so as a *gasp* woman?? Because that, I think, is what’s really going on with a lot of those comments. It’s just disgusting and sad to see you being treated that way.

    Ms. Flores, you’re not ugly, stupid, or a whore. You are a caring mother and a creative, interesting person—or at least that’s the woman *I* envision when I read your writing. Wish I could give you big hugs.

    From now on, I think you should tell the haters your daughter’s middle-name is in
    honor of YOU, thankyouverymuch.

    • Lisa Flores

      K – you bring up a lot of really excellent points (and I love hugs!).

      I was really hesitant when Eve offered me the opportunity to share my story because of the earlier backlash, but I am glad I took her up on it. It allowed me to say lots of things – one of which is: I love my kids. My love for them, or how neat I think they are, or how funny, or interesting, or whatever does not negate how great/funny/interesting/etc. other people’s children are. All kids are great in my book… even my nephew who is politely described as being “a handful” amazes me at his wit and ingenuity as he devises all sorts of ways to challenge the adults in his life.

      I never meant to give the impression that I think my super speshyl snowflayke(s) (love this btw!) are any more super spesh than anyone else’s, and I am sorry if it came across that way. The fact is, my snowflaykes are going to have their moments. Dominic, as wonderful as his is, is still a 14yo who can be all heart – when really he needs to be more brain. He tests me and is going to continue to do so as he grows – Viviana as well – and while I don’t relish those times, to me, it is all part of the job.

    • K.

      Oh, to be clear–I’m not accusing you of having the speshyl snowflayke syndrome (people who have that are bitching out their work colleagues for like, not remembering Snowflayke’s half-birthday or whatever). I do think that people tend to overreact and accuse someone of being hoity-toity smug about their child, when it’s really that person is simply writing with enthusiasm about their child and their love for their children (the latter characterization is how I read your piece).

      I think that your children are so lucky to have such a caring momma!

    • Lisa Flores

      Oh, I know you weren’t, K, I just love that term! This is the first time I have ever heard it.

      I am adding it to my vernacular as of this very moment!

  • brebay

    It’s Alaska, people, not Park Slope, no one gives two shits if your kid has a colorful name. Pretty sure she can still be a doctor…

    • noodlestein

      Plus, with all the pretentious asses in Park Slope, I bet there’s a lot more yoonique names than you’d think!

    • brebay

      True, true, but they actually believe Praysedenne is a “classic” name…

    • Lisa Flores

      Where is Park Slope? We have a North Slope up here, but from your description, I don’t think it is the same kind of place ;)

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      I believe it’s a posh neighborhood in NYC, though people who have lived on the East Coast more recently than I have should feel free to correct me if I’m wrong!

    • JenH1986

      I don’t know many doctors who go by Dr. First Name Middle Name Last Name. It’s usually Dr. Last name or if they work with kids Dr. Name everyone calls me. So…yea. I think Dr. Viviana Flores, Dr. Flores or Dr. V are all perfectly acceptable names.

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      At most, I’ve seen doctors, lawyers, et al. use a middle initial on business cards and plaques. There might be a few who went with a hyphenated last name when they got married, though I recall one of my linguistics professors doing an informal survey and finding that the vast majority of fellow female academics did not do that–they either kept their maiden names (typical if they’d gotten their degrees or published papers before marriage) or changed their last names entirely.

      All of which is to say that using only two out of three (or more!) names is very common.

    • JenH1986

      I don’t know many people who use all three names. Attorneys sign their pleadings Viviana A. Flores, Esq. I graduated with a girl whose mother didn’t want to think of a middle name so she just doesn’t have one. I live in mid-west/south. I’m more inclined to the “redneck” test Where you say the child’s full name and follow it with “Quit beating your brother with a garden hose!” If it rolls off the tongue a little too well, you might have a redneck name. Example “Eddie Lee you quit beating your brother with a garden hose!” Nothing wrong with Eddie. Nothing wrong with Lee. putting them together? Little redneck. “Edward Lee? doesn’t sound the same and not rednecky (i made that word up lol) but ultimately as long as the kid isn’t named after Hitler or a symbol (looking at you Hashtag) Do what you want. I might think Calling your kid “Lovvie” is dumb…but it’s not my kid.

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      In an appendix to my repeated grousing about my full first name, one problem I have with it is that it would pass the redneck test with flying colors, especially in my mother’s breathy, high-pitched Midwestern accent. :/ I sometimes wonder, given that my full name is twenty letters long with two spaces that should have been three and induces Category 5 headaches in prospective employers and government officials, if my parents were compensating for the fact that neither one got a middle name.

      I’m also in the “do what you want, as long as you’re not actively hurting anybody,” though I’d also add that you shouldn’t be surprised if your kid’s first act upon reaching legal age is to run down to the state registrar’s office to petition for a legal name change, especially if you named them “Lovvie”…though Lovie Smith got my second-favorite football team (Da Bears, FSM help me) as close to ultimate victory as they’re likely to get in my lifetime!

    • JenH1986

      Lol I hate that name. Could be because of the bitch it’s attached to that I know…

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      Makes sense to me! It’s probably the same reason I have a Pavlovian response to break down into echoic weeping whenever I hear the name Peyton these days (my top-favorite football team is the Broncos. Our QB has been instrumental in the Super Bowl defeats of BOTH teams I care about).

    • JenH1986

      I am a Manning fan so I understand

    • Lisa Flores

      My brother and I both had a name change (last names) when our stepdad adopted us. My mom gave us the opportunity to “right any wrongs” and change our first and/or middle names if we so desired. My brother James, who goes by Jim strongly considered making the switch from James Patrick to James Robert William Joseph so that he could go by Jim Bob Billy Jo for short.

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      I’m starting to see where you get your excellent parenting skills from. My mother always got so butthurt whenever I expressed an interest in changing my name, even though she’s the one who told me its origins!

      Also, my AIM handle was “jimbillybubba.” High-five to your brother!

    • JenH1986

      True Story: I have several cousins from the Appalachian part of Kentucky: Ricki Jo, Bobbi Jo, Ricky Ray, Randy Ray and Whitney Jo. All said in syrupy southern accents. I don’t even have to ask about the garden hose to know they are redneck names!

    • KatDuck

      Dear heavens, I have a redneck name.

    • JenH1986

      Me too. :( Jenny Lee.I rock it tho. And introduce myself as Jennifer or Jen.

    • brebay

      Dr. V. I would totally get a pap smear from her.

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      Now that you mention it, especially once the name change goes through, Viviana should probably be grateful her last name doesn’t start with a G… :p

    • Gangle

      I would go see Dr Awesome. Medical profession AND superhero.

  • NotTakenNotAvailable

    I hate my full first name. I’ve mentioned this on Mommyish before, but it’s a mashup of a tribute to a whore (I mean literally, as in someone who got paid to have sex, albeit in a fictional setting, not like what some ass-tampons have been calling you online) and a relative no one liked. There’s a capital letter in the middle with no space in between the two halves, and if I’m not standing there to spell it out carefully for the poor sap who’s required to take down full legal names…well, suffice to say there are enough creative variations on the spelling to cause even a TI-series calculator to run screaming for the hills.

    Which is why I wish my parents would’ve just used the second half of my name as my middle name and hyphenated my last name instead (which would’ve raised problems of its own, as my middle name is my mother’s maiden name, but I use it because it’s kind of a cool name, until I have to explain that it is NOT my actual last name or even part thereof). As you pointed out, one can easily choose to simply ignore a middle name, especially since even many legal documents don’t require one. Plus, if your daughter really wants to, she can always change it herself later on.

    Plus, you totally sold me with the line, “[W]hat well-adjusted adult wouldn’t love to be able to say, “well… Awesome is my middle name” and have it be true?” Because you are absolutely right–Awesome would be, well, awesome to have as a middle name!

    And while I’m sorry things didn’t work out with your daughter’s father, it sounds like the two of you came to some sort of agreement by discussing the issue like adults are supposed to. What a concept for the trolls to mull over!

    In short, you sound as awesome as your daughter’s middle name is. Rock on.

    • Lisa Flores


      We have a rather large Filipino community here in Juneau. Unique names and name mash-ups are very, very common. For example, I know a family where all of the children have Joe in their names (Joserie, Josel, Josiah, etc.) because dad’s name is Joseph.

      When Viviana’s father and I were still a couple he submitted a couple of name suggestions. His favorite, for a girl, was d’LiGen (Duh-lee-JEN) and d’Li (dully) for a nickname. The D was to honor Dominic’s request that the baby have D name. Li was for Lisa and Gen for his mother. I went in a different direction, in part because I didn’t want her to have to always spell her name out for people. Little d, apostrophe, big L, little I, big G…. so I feel for you :)

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      I think Viviana is great, and while there are no apostrophes in mine, I can assure you that funky capitalization and sounds that correspond to several different letters and letter combinations are enough to make the name-holder liable to throw up her hands and say, “Mary. My name is Mary.” Wise decision!

    • pineapples

      I can sooo identify…. I have a mashed up first name and no middle name so everyone assumes being in the South my parents were being “traditional but cool”. That redneck test mentioned earlier…very similar “Well bless Kelly Jo’s heart”! I dropped the “2nd first name” as a teenager and only use my “1st first name” . Only a random Aunt still uses my “full name”. I’ve told my parents many times can we just use the second half of my name as my middle name and be finished!

      I forwarded this article to my mother and father told them “if you made my 2nd first name or given me the middle name Awesome! I would never complain!”

      Imagine hearing “Well bless Vicki Awesome’s heart” in a Southern accent…

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      I have some family members who still use my full first name, though I haven’t gone by that one since I was in middle school. My full first name, though, was described by one of my college friends as being “the BEST Jewish redneck name ever,” which for some reason made me think of a Hasidic rabbi plucking out the notes to “Hava Nagila” on a banjo.

    • pineapples

      I now have the image of Barbarella plucking the banjo on Green Acres in my head.

      I’m going to set down my glass of wine now…

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      …and drink straight from the bottle? ;) I’m always happy to provide an excuse for debauchery!

  • Edify

    Lisa, you are amazing and you are doing a wonderful job. My boy’s middle name is Danger after many years of petition from his Dad. I think awesome is awesome

  • Jessica

    wonder how many haters actually KNOW their lawyers middle name? love the story, go for it. you sound like a great mum

  • jmuns79

    When I was pregnant, we decided on a first name fairly quickly, but argued for months over the middle name. My husband adamantly campaigned for these three, “King,” “Winner” or “Champion.” We went with “John” because it’s the name of his paternal grandfather. I can tell you with absolute certainty that there is a grown ass man in Pennsylvania who is sitting here right now extremely jealous of your daughter’s middle name.

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      I mentioned downthread that I wish my life could be a rock musical, especially since your comment made me start belting out “We Are the Champions” at the top of my lungs. I’m sure my neighbors wish just as much as I do that I’d finally buckle down and do some real work!

  • KatDuck

    I tend to be a bit judgy on weird names because I have a bad first name and a worse middle and they’re total redneck when put together which would be fine if my family were that… but they’re not. So I don’t even know where it comes from. And there’s not even a neat story behind my name. So I tend to take a knee-jerk protective stance over kids whose parents laden them with bad names.

    I’m totally cool with Viviana Awesome, though. So long as the first name’s not horrible, middle is free game. That’s your prize for picking a good first name. And Viviana is excellent. Professional (Viviana), cute (Vivi), chic (Viv or V), or even a little quaint (Ana or Ann). She’s got great options. So have fun with that middle.

    Add to that the story – how fantastic is that? What a great way to honor Dominic and the bond he has with his little sister. That’s really something to be celebrated.

  • footnotegirl

    Ugh haters are awful. I am so happy that we have never gotten a single response to our daughter’s middle name (We did, in fact, go with Danger). All the folks we know have been nothing but excited about it.

  • Mle

    I was watching TV a few years ago and one of the presenters was talking about his niece and nephew. They were called Chase Danger and Shelby Lucky (she’ll be lucky, I think it’s only an Australian thing) and I thought that their mum was my idol and I want to do something like this one day.

  • Guy C

    Damn. I have three middle names, and on my birth certificate I have the Roman numeral II (as in, dummmy dum “the second”) because I was named after my grandfather – but nothing anywhere near as awesome as a middle name Awesome.

    Go mum!

  • keetakat

    When I heard the name “Viviana Awesome” I thought super hero, which kind of describes your whole family unit, doesn’t it?

    Good on ya, Mama!… and super props to you son for his genius!

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  • Psych Student

    On top of thinking that anything you use as a middle name is pretty acceptable (John ILikeSuckIt Smith, probably not such a great idea, but, you know, to each their own), your acceptance of your daughter working as a stripper means you are a freaking AMAZING mom! You’ve got a sense of humor and I love your suggestions for a stripper name. You rock!

  • G

    I just wanted to add that I think your response is truly wonderful. Thank you for sharing this and for publicizing what these ridiculous people say which hopefully will shame them.
    I think it’s a gorgeous story and Awesome is a fabulous name and truly deserved for your daughter AND you and your son……. maybe you should all change your middle names and make it a family name ;-D

  • KsweetK

    I am so sorry that this mom had to deal with such hate. I respect and appreciate the way that she responded.