Reader question: how to deal with negative attitudes toward big families (and a cool name!)

This doesn’t have to do with names, but it does come from one of you readers, and it does have to do with big families, and our little community here has a higher-than-average proportion of big families when it comes to most other places online, and I’ve not seen a kinder virtual community anywhere.

So: a mama and devoted reader, who’s expecting her third baby, writes,

Many of your consultations and readers (as well as yourself!) seem to have larger families (4+). How does everyone deal with society’s negativity towards it? How do you maybe evangelize the Catholic way of thinking, openness to life, the idea that there is value and benefit in larger families? Granted we are not ALL called to have large families, it is a personal matter you settle with God. But still, what do you say to help others understand or turn the news from ‘oh ANOTHER one’ to ‘yippy!’

I was so sad to read this! I know having to deal with this is a reality the more children a couple welcomes into their family, but it’s so sad to me when a mama experiences it for the first time. This particular reader has been told (regarding what name they’ll give the baby), “If you’re smart, you’ll call it ‘Quits.'” (Hardy har.) She’s been given eye rolls when she mentions friends having their fourth or fifth baby, and facial expressions and tones of voice that convey to her that the person she’s speaking to doesn’t approve when she discusses things like possibly getting a bigger vehicle.

I told her that for myself, I just try to remember that there are a lot of people who truly don’t understand our mindset and world view — they’ve been so affected by what they see around them, and most people don’t come into contact with big families on a regular basis. And I always try to be joyful! I mean, obviously I’m not always joyful — my poor kids will tell you I’m impatient and have a bad temper! — but in general I am, because I know that our life is full of blessings, not least of which are the children. So I try to convey that to others, whether at the grocery store or school or church or whatever. But not in a beat-them-over-the-head or holier-than-thou way either, you know? Just in general, trying to *not* confirm whatever negative preconceived ideas they have about having a lot of kids. If it’s a situation where I’m chatting with someone, I love to tell the latest funny or cute or sweet stories about my boys — in my experience, people tend to love those kinds of things. Especially funny stories! Laughter is the best medicine after all. 😀

How about all of you? What suggestions or words of wisdom or moral support do you have to offer this mom, and all others who deal with this kind of thing?

(Also, just to end on a namey note, I came across the name of an Italian Dominican theologian from long ago [1580-1660; he’s not a saint or a blessed, just a cool guy], and it’s been rolling around in my head for days because I’m so taken with it: Xantes Mariales!)


Prayers needed please!

The community one of our readers lives in was rocked by a horrible shooting tragedy yesterday, and she wrote to ask you all to for pray for all of them — she said, “It is a small community here and everyone has a connection to someone related to this incident or to the first responders.” She also asked for prayers for the attack in London yesterday, and I ask a special prayer for the protection of my brother and his colleagues who arrived in London yesterday and, according to my sister-in-law, had gone through the area where it happened just before the attack.

For the souls of all those who died in these incidents, and for their grieving families, and for all the injured and all those otherwise affected by these tragedies, and for safety for both communities going forward, we pray. St. Anne, pray for us!

Another prayer request

Thank you all for praying for this morning’s mama — if I get an update and she gives me permission to share it, I will!

I have another prayer request — one of our longtime readers, Joanna, a real-life dear friend of mine who I also posted a birth announcement for when she had her sixth baby, had a terrible scare recently when she had her first diabetic seizure in the nearly twenty years since her diagnosis; it left her mouth and tongue chewed up, and both her arms dislocated. Her husband has wanted to get a diabetic assistance dog for a while, and this incident has sped up their plans. It’s an expensive venture, and Joanna’s family has set up a Go Fund Me page to help defray the cost. If any of you are able to help financially, I know they would be so appreciative! Joanna also has to have surgery on her arm in the near future — you all know how hard these things are to manage when you also have little ones to take care. She’s been posting updates on her blog, if you’d like to follow along, and prayers are very welcome and needed. Thank you all! ❤

February CatholicMom column up, a Nameberry mention, and thanks for the fun!

I’ll start with the last bit of the post title — thanks for all your great ideas re: a sister for Reverie! That was so fun to read! You all have amazing ideas!

Secondly, our reader Clare, who has an awesome name site of her own (Name News) and is also my Welsh pronunciation expert, had a piece posted on Nameberry a couple days ago in which she mentioned Sancta Nomina — specifically the “Men Who Love Mary” category! If I’m ever remembered for one thing, having it be names for Mary would be one of my very top choices. 😍 Go check out her great post: Who Knew Victor Hugo was a Name Nerd?

Finally, my February CatholicMom column posted yesterday — a slight re-boot of this post from a couple years ago: Names for Miscarried Babies. Miscarriage was on my mind recently because my parish just started a miscarriage ministry and asked me to help with it (and you know I tapped into our reader Mandi’s great resources at A Blog About Miscarriage). I hope this is helpful for anyone who’s mourning a little one.



Book review: Kate Wicker’s *Getting Past Perfect*

I recently posted a guest post by Kate Wicker (with name ideas for her baby) and a birth announcement, and today I’m thrilled to post a review of her new book!


Kate Wicker’s forthcoming book, Getting Past Perfect: How to Find Joy and Grace in the Messiness of Motherhood, is exactly the book a lot of moms—myself included—need, often. Half memoir, half self-help, it spoke directly to me, which isn’t surprising given that Kate’s often done that for me through the years. She has a really lovely way of wording things, which become little nuggets of wisdom, like from a mom or a big sister, even though, in my case, she’s a peer (we’re the same age, and my oldest is the same age as her oldest).

Not only does she reveal her hard-won insider info that all moms experience and are embarrassed to admit (“there are lots of other days and even weeks when I feel like a total failure when I’m pretty sure I’ve royally screwed up my kids, and they’ll all end up in therapy. Those are the days when I’m in awe of my children’s deep pools of mercy and how eager they are to love imperfect me”), but she frames it all within an understanding of the crosses God asks us to bear, and the assurance that He is right there with us at every step. I loved when she noted that, “God is the only perfect parent there is, and let’s take a look at his children—you and imperfect me, all his offspring who have questioned him, those who crucified his only Son, and then all those who have committed abhorrent acts of genocide, bride burning, and other horrifying crimes of hate. One look at this Father’s broken people, and you’d think he has failed miserably as a parent. So why, then, do we take our own children’s behavior and choices and imperfections as an indictment of our own parenting?”

The ideas of “perfect” and “imperfect” moms and children (but especially moms) are addressed and moved past throughout her whole book—hence the title Getting Past Perfect. Kate says over and over again: you are not everything, and you *are* good enough. You aren’t perfect and you don’t need to be.

I loved how each chapter begins with an “evil earworm” (those nagging, untruthful or half-truthful refrains that get stuck in our heads) and a responding “untarnished truth” based on faith and reality. I loved the “Mom’s Time Out”—a prayer/reflection—at the end of each chapter. I loved that Kate included lots of personal anecdotes and bible quotes throughout, and the reading group guide and additional resources in the back make it a perfect book for individuals or groups. And I really loved this line, which I think sums up Kate’s whole goal: “Dear mamas, imperfect love is still love.” Sometimes—a lot of times—we all need to hear just that.

Kate’s book will be released on March 3, 2017, and is available for preorder from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the publisher itself (Ave Maria Press).

Reading round-up: Birth/name announcement edition

I know (or I hope) you all know how much I love your contributions to our wonderful little community here, right? 💕💕💕 Over the past couple of weeks I’ve received notes from several of you sharing birth and name announcements you’d come across that you thought I’d like to see, and of course you’re so right — I loved them all! And I wanted to post them here for all of you lovers of the names of our faith.

First up, I hope you all know Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood director-turned-amazing advocate for the unborn, as well as for those who work at abortion clinics and who want to get out of the industry (she provides all kinds of resources and support, including finding jobs for them and helping them financially, through her wonderful organization And Then There Were None). She’s absolutely tireless in her efforts, even with being mama to five beautiful little ones AND expecting twins!! She and her husband recently solicited name ideas for their twin baby girls (and shared their older kiddos’ names), and her husband shared on FB last week that they’ve decided! Go check out the beeaauutiful names they chose! 👯 (Thanks to Mary and Jen for sharing this info!)

I always love hearing about the European royal names and how Catholic they often are, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out the names of a British politician’s children! Check out Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has given his fifth child an amazing name and North Somerset MP Jacob Rees-Mogg welcomes fifth child but his name causes a stir. (Thanks to Jilana!)

Check out this little guy’s name! And Clive makes five: a birth story. I really loved reading how perfectly his name fit the naming rules his parents had — like, perfectly! And of course C.S. Lewis. Great naming story. (He’s also got some gorgeously named big sisters!) (Thanks to proud auntie Francine!)

Finally, Amy tagged me on a photo of her twin girls she’d posted on IG to illustrate her announcement that she’d posted about how she’d chosen their names and said, “@santanomina how did I do? They’re both French, places and saints!” I’m still so tickled that anyone cares what I think! Haha! Of course I 🏃 (or more like 💃) over to her blog to read all about these sweet girls’ names in “Are They Family Names?” – Behind the Names Special and can say with authority that she and her husband did a marvelous job. Beautiful times two! 👯 (Thanks also to Mary, who also shared the link with me!)

What a fun round-up! I hope you all have as much fun reading about these babies as I did!