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Challenge: Stop Mom Judging

Namegate: A New Way to Judge

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"Are you mad?"

It was preschool parent orientation for the 2's program and a woman I'd met merely weeks before rushed over and bombarded me with this greeting immediately upon arrival.

As a new-ish parent about to send her only child, one whom was at home with me for the last two and a half years and has never been dropped off anywhere, to school, I was feeling a lot of things: fear, elation, sadness, pride, disbelief... but anger was certainly not one of them.

"Oh, hello. Nice to see you again." I said trying to start off on a more positive note.

"Are you mad?"

"At what?"

For the sake of the sensitive situation, I won't reveal the names but this mother was up in toddler arms about the school administrators putting her child in a class with several other kids whose names start with the same letter. Mine also happens to share the same consonant.

This is the same woman who introduced herself to my husband a month prior by complaining about our daughter's name being too close to hers. I believe her opening line was, "Ugh, you have a Lilly?"

And so it begins...

Or continues, rather. Since having my daughter, I thought I'd seen it all in regards to mother judging. Working or stay-at-home, nanny, no nanny, homemade purées or, gasp, store bought pouches, classes, cartoons, diaper bags, doctors, cry it out and potty training techniques, toy selection, birthday gifts and parties and perhaps the biggest, most controversial and jarring of all, breast or formula feeding. There wasn't a week that went by that something wasn't under surveillance.

And then the school process began which was a big deal. Which schools are you looking at? Where have you applied? Did she get in? Where is she going? (We're still talking about preschool, right? Not college? Okay, just checking.) How many days? Hours?

Once we were in, I thought things might ease up for a bit. I was wrong. Not even day one and, wham, namegate.

Two plus years ago, I received plenty of questions and comments after revealing the name of our precious newborn babe. It's Lilly James. Not Pilot Inspector. Still, it created quite the discussion and controversy. In fact, I believe someone's still "noodling" on it, their word, not mine. But I had no idea, the first letter of her first name would create such a stir.

The suggestion was actually made by this mother (In jest? I hope. Not convinced.) that I give her a nickname to avoid confusion. Shouldn't the one with the problem do that?

What will day two bring? What have I gotten us into? Wish us luck. Me and my now nameless daughter. We're gonna need it!

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