Tell Us Your (Name) Story: Kelly Lack

Mom to Rye Hamilton

As Director of Content and Partnerships at Zappos, Kelly Lack is one of those imitable chicks you either want to be or be with (her handsome hubby called dibs on that, though). Most recently, she and her team at Zappos launched The_ONES, an editorial spin on retail that celebrates women and their sneakers (these are are our go-to classics, if you’re curious).

The San Fran-based media vet has had bylines in magazines including Cosmo, Travel + Leisure, and Harper’s Bazaar, consulted for big brands like Conde Nast Traveler and One King’s Lane, and helped launch Spot, a cool new travel app. She also knows her way around a camera, can style a room like no other, and happens to be one of the kindest, most genuine people we’ve ever met.

And now for the reason we’re all here: Profesh stuff aside, Kelly’s the proud mama of an insanely cute toddler named Rye Hamilton. Rye! How good is that?! A little bit country and a little bit rock ‘n roll, it’s equal parts laid back and dignified, and totally unique. We hit her up for the backstory, and she happily obliged.

 
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Your son's name is seriously the best. How’d you land on it?

We lived in Buenos Aires for a while several years ago, and became really good friends with this Norwegian couple who was also living down there. The wife was in my Spanish class, and we just totally hit it off. Her middle name is Rye (pronounced, at least as far as we can remember, more like Ah-Ree-yaaaa), and Jon, my hubs, and I liked it intensely and immediately. (Though we pronounce Rye just like the bread or the booze—pick your poison. Or Ryebie, which is the go-to nickname.) The funny thing is that we had it on our list of potential girl names. But then we found out we were having a boy. We collected and played around with so many boy names, but none seemed just rightttt. We wanted something monosyllabic to balance out my husband’s long last name—which isn’t that complicated, but NOBODY can spell—and classic, but not dull. It was sort of 11th hour, like maybe a couple weeks out from my due date, and it dawned on us that Rye totally could work for a boy too. It was like a light bulb moment and we were like that’s it, done.

And Hamilton is a great middle. Any significance there?

It’s my mom’s maiden name. I was trying to honor that side of the family, and it’s such a traditional-sounding American name. Ironically, my kid loves the Hamilton soundtrack, though I think he’s confused by the shared-name thing. It probably doesn’t help that we joke and call him Ryelexander Hamilton pretty frequently. 

Parents often say they can't imagine their child having any other name. True for you guys?

Yes, definitely. Sometimes we ask each other if we still like it, and we both 100% do. We didn’t tell our families the name before we had him, because we didn’t want to deal with any backlash or complaints, so I think they were expecting something more out-there, but were pleasantly surprised in that though it’s not a common name, it still feels timeless. 

 
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I’m assuming he’s the only Rye in his circle of pals? 

Yes—there's definitely no other Rye at daycare, which we love, though we've realized that sometimes people think it's Ry and short for Ryan. So there have for sure been times when we're out on the playground or in the grocery store and we smile and nod through convos about "little Ryan" because really who cares and life's too short to spend time and mental energy correcting strangers. 

Agree! Any other tips for new parents?

Of course there’s overarching stuff like be flexible, lower your expectations for what can be accomplished in a single day, and treat each other with grace and kindness because it’s really easy to get sucked into a pattern of snapping at each other when you’re exhausted. But one relatively small thing that personally helped us a ton was getting our kid used to napping on the go. I have some friends who started out totally shackled to their homes because their kid could only fall asleep in their crib, but I’ve found that Rye being able to fall asleep in his stroller or car seat freed us up to live a life that more closely resembled our pre-kid life. We could go on day trips, take long walks, actually enjoy a meal out while he slept through it. Now that he’s entering wild toddlerhood, with way fewer naps, some of that is out the window, but when he was new, it helped us feel that we were retaining some normalcy in a cadence of life that felt somewhat familiar. 

Thank you Kelly!