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Woman upset MIL is 'gifting' her middle name to her baby; says, 'It's tradition.' UPDATED

Woman upset MIL is 'gifting' her middle name to her baby; says, 'It's tradition.' UPDATED


Having a new child can bring out a lot of unexpected emotions.

For instance, this new mom realized she just does not like her mother-in-law.

"AITA for not letting my Mother-In-Law 'gift' my yet-to-be-born daughter her middle name?"


I (34F) & my husband “John” (35M) are expecting our daughter in a couple weeks. We’re excited & terrified at the same time. This does involve my MIL, but I wanted to isolate this one issue. As in, pretend that there isn’t a whole history of said MIL, here “Molly”, jumping over boundaries like she’s one of those buzzed dogs you see in those Westminster agility competitions.

John is Molly’s eldest child. He has 2 sisters. This will be our 1st child, & Molly/FIL’s 1st grandchild. I didn’t have an elaborate baby shower, & for reasons I won’t get into, it was mostly with my side of the family/a few friends.

Molly did attend briefly & gave me a nice seat thingie (forgive me, I’m not even new at this yet). Very recently, Molly threw me a “celebration”. She told me it was not a baby shower, it was more like a tea party with her side of the family. I said ok, whatever, I thought it was an attempt to make up for the baby shower shenanigans.

So by this time, John & I had chosen to name our daughter - & this is a pseudonym - “Daisy May”. We loved how the names clicked together, Daisy was on both our lists, & May - well this is kind of stupid.

When I was little, I loved the name May, I named my dolls May, would write stories about May, chose that as my pretend name, etc. It’s silly, but I like connecting that girlhood part of me to my daughter. John loved the idea too.

We were going to keep the name secret, but John leaked the first name to his mom (so I had to tell mine). The man keeps lawyer-client secrets like a vault but can’t help but exclaim “Oh, it’ll be so cool for Daisy!” in front of his mother. We asked them to keep it close.

Well at this tea party, Molly gave me a large wrapped gift box along with a speech about how it’s a tradition in John’s family that if the eldest son has daughters, the grandmother of those daughters gifts them their middle names. Excuse me, what?

I’m surrounded by like 50 women & they’re all nodding Stepfordly. I don’t have the spoons for this, so I just open the box. There are a bunch of blankets & stuff with “Daisy Flora” embroidered on them. So I guess everyone knows the 1st name now.

I go through the motions to get to the party’s end. Molly says that I seem upset. I tell her that John didn’t tell me of the tradition & that I want to discuss it with him before saying anything further. Molly was unenthused by my response.

I come home with some thoughts. John was flabbergasted. He’d never heard of this tradition but supposes it’s possible. I told him that while I respect Molly as family, we made a choice as parents, & I loved that choice. I was insistent. We told Molly no to Flora, & she is beyond upset.

Here’s the thing, I don’t hate her choice. I know I could actually grow to love Daisy Flora. I feel part of me is refusing to adopt the name because of past resentment towards Molly. It’s just a middle name after all. I’m so used to establishing boundaries that maybe I don’t know when I’m the a**@ole fencing myself in.

*ETA: I have since seen some family heirloom things (like this fancy Bible that John's great-grandmother gave to Molly's brother's daughter (her granddaughter) inscribed with something like 'I gift you the middle name Elizabeth' yada yada) and some other fancy stuff so I think it's a legit tradition. A weird one, but legit.

The OP then added an immediate update:


From posting this and reading all your insightful (& sometimes downright hilarious) comments, it really made me think about the turn of events. So, I decided to speak with my one decent SIL.

She told me, in a whisper that had me feeling like she thought the CIA was tapping the phone, that Molly had expected us to announce 'The Pregnancy' at one of the family dinners (don't ask) as was usually done, where Molly would have certainly informed us of the tradition. Maybe by a herald. Or Princess Catherine.

However, since we did the unforgivable thing of inviting all parents & siblings over for an informal brunch at our home to announce, she did not have the occasion to do so.

Moreover, since Molly felt her family was not adequately involved in the baby shower or 'baby preparation events and lack thereof', she did not feel as though there was an appropriate time and place to announce the tradition & the naming gift other than at the tea party. That she had to plan herself. And fit in at the last minute.

All of this is my fault. Apparently her whole family sympathizes. John still swears he never heard of this. I can't with this man of mine...Also 2 middle names are not acceptable. This was brought up during the conversation where we told her no to 'Flora'. Her exact reasoning and logic were not available at that time.

Here were the most popular comments from readers:


NTA - your MIL and her 'Stepford posse' can get over themselves.

BTW, hubs needs to learn to keep his mouth zipped when it comes to private/personal stuff!!! ASAP!!


'My family also has a tradition, which is that the parents, and only the parents, name the child. Sorry.'


NTA. You were blindsided and if John wasn’t even aware of this tradition, I’m going to call BS. No one gets to name YOUR baby but you and John. Let her clutch her pearls. You showed up under the guise of a tea party - what she did to you (and John) was out of line.


If you don't stick with 'May' you'll regret it the rest of your life.

If you give in to this dreadful woman at all about anything ever, you'll regret it the rest of your life. NTA.

How about you just stop talking to her or visiting her at all? How much better would your lives be! I know the diagnosis 'narcissist' gets thrown around a lot, but she's textbook. And you can't negotiate or reason with these people. She is literally making your baby announcement all about her.


Tell her about your family tradition where the parents name the baby whatever they damn well please and the father’s side pays for day care and college.

So do you think this OP should respect family tradition or is it her baby, her choice?

Sources: Reddit
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