Mom Called 'Childish' For How She Handled Her Husband's Stepmom Criticizing Their Baby Name

Does she really owe her stepmother-in-law the respect she wasn't shown in the first place?

mother-in-law glaring at young couple Ground Picture /

Baby names have long been controversial, but in today's era of more unique baby names and different approaches to gender norms, it often becomes downright divisive.

One mom on Reddit found herself in this situation with her husband's family, and it ended up with her being painted as the bad guy — even though baby names are nobody's business but the parents in the first place.

The mom is being called 'childish' for clapping back at her step-mother-in-law's criticisms of her gender-neutral baby names.

As our understanding of gender has evolved, trends like gender-neutral parenting have grown increasingly popular in recent years as parents seek to create a life and environment where their children are not pressured to adhere to old-fashioned gender stereotypes. 


RELATED: Great-Grandmother Refuses To Meet Her Great-Granddaughter Since She Is Not A Fan Of Her Name

Anything pertaining to new ways of thinking about gender being a social, cultural and psychological characteristic rather than a physical one seems to spark controversy. Even things like gender-neutral names and other less-gendered parenting practices have become contentious for certain people — like this mom's stepmother-in-law, Leigh, for example. 


The stepmother-in-law accused the mom of 'irresponsible' parenting and damaging her kids by giving them gender-neutral names.

In her Reddit post, she writes that she and her husband have given their two sons gender-neutral first names with traditionally masculine middle names in combinations such as Avery James. She is currently expecting her third child and they plan to do the same with their new baby boy.

Her husband's stepmother refuses to use the kids' given names and calls them by their masculine middle names instead. It's never caused friction because the kids rarely see their step-grandmother and the mom doesn't think it's worth arguing over — until the stepmother herself decided it definitely was.

Upon learning the third baby's name, "Leigh rolled her eyes and said 'Seriously? At this rate, next time you have a boy you’ll name him Grace,'" the mom shared. Even her husband's father told Leigh to knock it off, but she simply refused. 


The mom insisted it wasn't worth arguing over, but Leigh couldn't help herself — she escalated to personal attacks, calling the mom and her husband "crazy hippies and irresponsible parents." She accused them of forcing their supposedly abhorrent beliefs on their children and claimed that their kids would resent them later in life for doing so. 

RELATED: Woman Seeks Advice After Her 'Narcissistic' Mother Announces Her Baby's Name Before She Does

The mom is being chastised by her husband's family for not tolerating the stepmother's attacks.

Things got heated between the mom and stepmother, which escalated to her sarcastically mocking the stepmother's outrageous claims and asking her to leave. 

“Yes, you got me, now get out before we go all crazy hippie on you,” she told the stepmother. "I never said you were wrong about anything, I just want you out of my house."


Now, the stepmother has turned the husband's family against her and branded the mother as "childish" for retaliating, even though her father-in-law agrees that his wife was out of line. He also agrees, however, that the mom shouldn't have become sarcastic in response.



This is a common dynamic in many families, where those who fight back when insulted are labeled as the guilty party rather than the person who started the conflict to begin with. It's an absurd, immature and gaslighting approach to conflict.

But more to the point — baby names are nobody's business but the parents'. And there are far more reasons why gender-neutral baby names are becoming popular than just people's changing views on gender roles. 


RELATED: Woman Shares How Worried Parents Can Explain Gender-Neutral Bathrooms To Their Children — 'Seems Pretty Easy To Me'

Many parents have resorted to gender-neutral baby names as a way to give their kids a leg up when searching for a job later in life. 

Having a non-female name has been found to give people a leg up in situations like job applications. A 2019 European study found that resumés with female names were 30 percent less likely to be called for a job interview, a finding that corroborates many people's experiences in the workplace.



Switching names is also one of the increasingly common resume "lies" that applicants resorted to in order to get ahead in today's cutthroat job market. A 2023 study found that 20 percent of job applicants have changed their name on their resumes to avoid either gender, ethnic or racial discrimination. Many women have taken to social media to anecdotally report that doing so made a huge difference.




Ultimately, the real point here is that any baby name a parent chooses is nobody's business but theirs. Even if you disagree with their choice — or downright hate the name in question — the best way to react is with respectful silence. It's really simple to do, actually. You just keep your mouth closed. Easy peasy!

RELATED: Mom Asks If She's Wrong For Banning Mother-In-Law From Spending Time Alone With Her Baby After Catching Her Kissing Infant On The Head

John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.