Do you have any guesses as to The Mother’s name on HIMYM? There are some popular theories about this, and of course everyone has their own wild card guesses. Let’s break down the names that may be possible, based on evidence from prior and future episodes.
The Robin Theory
FYI, I don’t like this theory at all. But it’s worth including so here ya go. There are some (many?) fans that still want to see Ted and Robin end up together. I don’t buy that this will ever happen, but we all have our own theories and ideas. The theory here is that Ted won’t end up with THAT Robin…but he will end up with Robin because The Mother is ANOTHER Robin.
Some people feel that this neatly ties up the pilot episode, which ends with the kids groaning as Ted explains that’s how he met their Aunt Robin. There was no emphasis on the word “aunt” when he said it, but it’s still a little confusing. The whole time the kids thought that he was telling them how he met their mother, but it seems like they should have known from the get-go that this couldn’t possibly be about her…because her name isn’t Robin. So perhaps Ted clarifies this by explaining it’s their Aunt Robin and not their mom Robin. Or, Ted just didn’t specify her name when he told the story to the kids. Or, the kids assume he is using a fake name to obscure The Mother’s identity until the very end of the story.
The Tracy Theory
In S1E9 “Belly Full of Turkey”, we see Ted, Robin, and Barney at the Lusty Leopard strip club. This was the first appearance of the infamous Lusty Leopard location, and it gave us an interesting idea to consider. Here’s the conversation that sparked the theory:
Stripper: I’m Amber
Ted: I’m Ted
Stripper: Actually, it’s Tracy
Ted: Still Ted
- cut to Future Ted speaking to the Mosby kids -
Future Ted: And that, kids, is the true story of how I met your mother
Future Ted: (laughs) Just kidding
Some fans felt that the shocked reactions meant the kids believed Future Ted’s story. And instead of saying, “wait, but mom’s name is _____”, the kids just gasped in astonishment. These fans believe that the kids accepted the statement so readily because Ted used The Mother’s actual name – Tracy. Other fans agree with this reasoning but think it indicates that The Mother’s name is Amber. This idea also holds credence to some because amber is a shade of yellow, the main symbolic hue of the show and The Mother.
The Emily Theory
In S2E12 “First Time in New York” we met Robin’s little sister, Katie Scherbatsky. She was wearing a nameplate necklace throughout the episode, but it wasn’t her own name that we saw around her neck. The necklace read “Emily”. Why? Who is Emily? This could be completely irrelevant to anything else in HIMYM. I’m just pointing out in advance that this is a particularly long shot. It may relate to someone who the actress playing Katie – Lucy Hale – knows or knew. It could also be a little clue as to the name of Robin’s mother. We still don’t know this information, so it is possible that Katie got the necklace from her own mother. It COULD be a very well disguised clue to the name of THE Mother, though! We will have to wait and see…
The Kim Theory
Now let’s jump back to one of my favorite episodes, S1E21 “Milk”. Here’s the conversation that got people thinking The Mother’s name could be Kim:
Ted: I realized why I’m still single. I’m picky. I’m not gonna settle. If I’m gonna marry someone, she has to be perfect.
Lily: Well, what’s perfect?
Ted: Well, it’s not like I have a list.
Robin: Oh, yes you do.
Ted: Attractive, college educated, she wants two kids; a boy and a girl.
Lily: Oh that’s not hard, I know at least -
Ted: I’m not done. She likes dogs, Otis Redding, does the crossword, she’s into sports but not so much that her legs are like more muscular than mine, that weirds me out. And she plays bass guitar, like Kim Deal from the Pixies.
Marshall: Or Kim Gordon from Sonic Youth.
Ted: Any Kim from any cool band really. Can’t be too picky.
Lily: You’re never gonna find this girl.
I am personally still a big believer in the “Milk Theory”, which posits that Ted’s missed Love Solutions date is actually The Mother. This theory holds weight because that woman – shown in pictures but with her face blurred out – seems to be Ted’s perfect match. As he explains:
“So I read the file, and by God this woman was perfect. She liked dogs, she spent her summers in North Carolina, she played bass guitar, she did the Times crossword, she played tennis, she liked old movies, her favorite food was lasagna, and her favorite book was Love in the Time of Cholera. Her favorite singer was Otis Redding and she wanted two kids, a boy and a girl.”
We know that The Mother also plays bass guitar and either wants – or is ultimately happy with – having two kids, a boy and a girl. The writers have never revisited this unseen character, so I think the theory still holds water. The point here, though, is that Ted’s dream girl plays bass like “any Kim from any cool band really”. So maybe her name is Kim!
The Marissa Theory – DISPROVED
This is the only theory that offers a first and last name for The Mother – Marissa Heller.
In “Robots versus Wrestlers” (S5E22), we learn that mail for a prior resident (Marissa Heller) has consistently been delivered to the apartment ever since Ted and Marshall first moved in. When Ted spots Marissa Heller’s invitation to an exclusive party at the Alberta Building, he convinces the others to accompany him. They attempt to use her invitation, but the real Marissa Heller shows up.
Or does she?! Marissa invites Ted, Barney, Lily, and Marshall to join her. In the elevator, Lily tries to chat with Marissa about mail-related interests. Lily saw that Marissa received Soap Opera Digest, for example, so she asks Marissa about her favorite soaps. Marissa isn’t into that, though, and everyone thinks she’s pretty douchey. Except Ted, of course, because he was a little douchey himself in that episode.
One Redditor posited that elevator-Marissa’s lack of interest means that she wasn’t the real Marissa at all. The real Marissa could have been busy that night – busy being The Mother! We actually only know of one other event occurring that event – a little thing called Robots VS Wrestlers. Who might be interested in such a thing? Maybe a woman who paints ROBOTS DOING SPORTS. Is your mind blown just a little? :)
The Mother may not be Marissa, but she certainly could have attended Robots Versus Wrestlers. It is a yearly event, after all. Ted notes that this becomes an annual tradition for the whole group, so it’s likely that The Mother ends up going once they meet and get together. I like this theory because it’s a unique take that isn’t discussed much. It’s a long shot, but such an intriguing possibility. Marissa Mosby does have a certain ring to it, no?
Update – Carter Bays and Craig Thomas did a Reddit AMA where they answered fan questions. They had this to say about the real life Marissa Heller:
Marisa Heller is based on a swimsuit model named Melissa Keller who lived in my apartment on Alta Vista Blvd in West Hollywood before I got there. I used to get mail addressed to her, including invitations to Victoria’s Secret parties and stuff like that. But I never had the guts to sneak into any parties the way our characters did in “Robots Vs. Wrestlers.”
This information, plus the timing being incorrect, officially rules out Marissa Heller as the name of the mother!
The Rhiannon Theory:
This concept comes from S7E20 “Trilogy Time”, where we see how the gang imagines themselves three years into the future. This begins in 2000, and Ted predicts that in 2003 he will have an awesome bass playing girlfriend named Rhiannon. They use Robin for this imagined sequence of events, but at this point she just represents Ted’s dream girl and not actually herself.
This scene/episode demonstrates that the imagined name of Ted’s dream girl is Rhiannon. So it could be a fun twist if the writers called back to this and made it her actual name. I personally think this theory has a low probability of actually panning out.
The Violet Theory
Ever since season 7, episode 1 we have been seeing a TON of purple clothing in the show. Seriously, nearly every episode since and including that one has had main characters in purple. This has been going on for literally years now. There’s a whole lot to consider in terms of color theory, the symbolism of purple, how purple and yellow are complementary colors on the color wheel, etc. Some fans have a simple explanation for all the purple – maybe The Mother’s name is Violet. How sweet would that be?! I like this theory just because it makes all of the speculation about the purple washing of the show much easier to understand. It seems a little too easy, though, so it’s probably not too likely.
The Cristin Theory
This one is pretty easy-peasy: the actress playing The Mother is named Cristin, so perhaps The Mother shares the same name. It could also be a fun callback to S8E24 (season 8 finale) “Something New”. This episode showed Barney and Robin celebrating being engaged and about to be married. Then, a super annoying couple at the restaurant ruins some of their fun and are thus determined to be Barney and Robin’s arch rivals. The woman – played by Casey Wilson – was named Krirsten. No, that’s not a typo. It’s Krirsten with two Rs. The writers could use both of these factors to make The Mother’s name more significant. But, I think they will go further outside the box than that.
Note – At some point, someone posted about how there is a picture frame in Cindy’s (Rachel Bilson’s) apartment that she shared with The Mother. Supposedly the frame said “C+C”. Since Cindy is the one roommate, many guessed that the other roommate (The Mother) must also have a name that starts with C.
The problem is that nobody can actually find a screen cap of this moment and I don’t think it even exists. I believed in it when it first came to light, so I was not exempt from getting caught up in the theory! But, I don’t think it’s real at all. And even if it were, it could be a small Easter egg referencing the show’s writers, Craig Thomas and Carter Bays.
The Daisy Theory – DISPROVED
This is the only theory that relies on past and future episodes, and there’s some real potential with it. This idea came about from the title of the last show in the series: Season 9, episode 20 “Daisy”. That doesn’t seem like much, but there’s some supporting evidence that might sway you in favor of this idea:
- Many female characters have flower inspired names. Lily is the most obvious, of course, but there’s also Heather (Ted’s sister), Buttercup (Victoria’s fake name and the real name of her bakery), Daphne (Marshall is currently traveling to the wedding with a woman named Daphne), and now (potentially) a Daisy.
- Ted and The Mother named their daughter Penny, which sounds similar to another type of flower – the peony. This is a stretch and probably not a solid clue.
- Daisy is the name of the female protagonist in The Great Gatsby. This book is referenced in S1E2 “Purple Giraffe”, where Ted acts like Gatsby by throwing multiple parties in the hopes that a certain lady will appear. So Gatsby throws parties to get Daisy, and Ted throws parties to get Robin.
- An open yellow umbrella looks an awful lot like a yellow daisy!
My thought on this – I don’t think they would spoil a big reveal like that by releasing it as an episode title. I think someone else will be named Daisy, perhaps, but not the actual Mother.
UPDATE – Daisy is not The Mother’s name, because it is Lily and Marshall’s daughter’s name! We first met their second child as of S9E20 “Daisy”.
The Leia Theory
Ted mentioned early on that he would love to name his kids Luke and Leia. As a huge Star Wars fan, Ted was really into this idea. As of S9E15 “Unpause”, however, we know that his daughter is not named Leia – she’s named Penny. Why wasn’t she named Leia? Some speculate it’s because The Mother is named Leia! How perfect would that be for Ted? Her age – let’s give a wide range and guess it’s between 25 and 35 – means that she could easily have been named by Star Wars fanatic parents. It seems unlikely, but it’s as possible as any other name at this point.
The Rose Theory:
At the end of S9E16 “How Your Mother Met Me”, The Mother plays the ukulele and sings La Vie En Rose. Future Ted says that she sang it to the kids each night, and many other times, but this first time was his favorite. Earlier in the episode, she wears a sweater with a rose on it. So maybe her name is Rose? I approve of this idea because it’s my middle name and therefore an excellent option. It also fits with the flower names that we have seen throughout the show.
The Bob Dylan Song Theory:
This theory connects with the Reddit AMA, and this conversation thread in particular:
gokussr4: Can you give some insight on some artists you’ll be using for the soundtrack of future episodes?
Bays: Well, it’s getting down to the wire here, so we’re trying to squeeze in every band or musician that we love but haven’t yet used on the show. We might be using a Bob Dylan song at a pivotal moment in an upcoming episode. I’m very excited for that one.
Note – could be a song he references later in the AMA, when discussing “Mother of Pearl”:
Bays: I love that song so much. It’s one of those songs that I think says everything we’ve tried to say in 9 seasons in the length of a pop song. Well, a very long pop song, to be fair, but a pop song none the less. The other song that’s like that for me is “Bob Dylan’s Dream” off “The Freewheeling Bob Dylan.” That song gives me goosebumps every time I hear it. The fact that he was like 22 when he wrote it is something I just can’t handle one bit.
Some people (mostly me, but probably others too!) were very excited to hear of a Bob Dylan song at a “pivotal moment”. I was excited because I was named after this his version of Corrina, Corrina. But my parents spelled it a bit different, as you can see.
Anyway, here are some options for names based on Bob Dylan songs that could be played at the pivotal moment when Ted meets The Mother. These are listed in chronological order:
- Peggy (Pretty Peggy-O) and (Peggy Day)
- Corrina (Corrina, Corrina)
- Hattie (The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll)
- Ramona (To Ramona)
- Maggie (Maggie’s Farm) (unlikely because there’s already a former love interest for Ted named Maggie)
- Jane (Queen Jane Approximately)
- Johanna (Visions of Johanna)
- Marie (Absolutely Sweet Marie)
- Alberta (Alberta)
- Sadie (In Search of Little Sadie) and (Little Sadie)
- Mary (Take a Message to Mary)
- Hazel (Hazel)
- Rosemary (Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts) (I didn’t include Lily as an option for obvious reasons)
- Isis (Isis)
- Sara (Sara)
- Grace (Saving Grace)
- Sally (Sally Sue Brown)
- Delia (Delia)
- Nettie (Nettie Moore)
- Jolene (Jolene)
Some of these can probably be ruled out because the names just don’t feel like they fit a modern character. I have a hard time imagining The Mother as a Peggy, Ramona, Alberta, Rosemary, Nettie, or Jolene. Some of the others seem pretty random as well, so here are my best guesses based on song popularity and lyrical relevance to HIMYM:
Rolling Stone included Visions of Johanna in their top 10 list of Bob Dylan songs, and it’s one of the first that my singer/songwriter/Dylan fan father noted when I asked about Bob songs with girl’s name. Here’s what Rolling Stone says about it:
Visions of Johanna” is a tour de force, a breakthrough not only for the writer but for the very possibilities of songwriting. An extended, impressionistic account of a woozy New York City night, rich in pictorial detail and erotic longing, the five long verses zigzag between Dylan‘s acute dissection of one woman, the tangible and available Louise, and his longing for an absent ideal. Johanna may not even be real. But she is an addiction. “It’s extraordinary,” Bono once said. “He writes this whole song seemingly about this one girl, with these remarkable descriptions of her, but this isn’t the girl who’s on his mind! It’s somebody else!
We can easily equate Louise with any of the available women from Ted’s past, and Johanna with Robin. Hopefully, though, Ted has reached a point where Robin is no longer his Johanna. He can now have the real woman (Louise) and the fantasy (Johanna) in one woman – The Mother.
Here are is a sample of the lyrics for reference:
Louise she’s all right she’s just near
She’s delicate and seems like the mirror
But she just makes it all too concise and too clear
That Johanna’s not here
The ghost of electricity howls in the bones of her face
Where these visions of Johanna have now taken my place.
Corrina Corrina is a well known song, and I’ve always felt it was an apt option for The Mother’s name. The lyrics are almost mournful in their lament:
Gal, where you been so long ?
Gal where you been so long ?
I been worr’in’ about you, baby
Baby, please come home.
I got a bird that whistles
I got a bird that sings
I got a bird that whistles
I got a bird that sings
But I ain’t a-got Corrina
Life don’t mean a thing.
This can be in reference to The Mother being absent from Ted’s life, and him constantly wondering when he will find his match. It also reflects how Ted can have a happy job, social life, etc, (his “bird” equivalents) but without his true love, “life don’t mean a thing”.
UPDATE: The Bob Dylan song “If You See Her Say Hello” played during a scene at the end of SpE19 ‘Vesuvius”, which many fans found to be a seemingly pivotal moment in the show. This is the moment when Ted gets choked up discussing a mother missing her daughter’s wedding. We don’t know yet if this indicates something dire for one of our main characters, but it was quite a powerful scene.
So that’s what we have to go by so far…what do you think The Mother’s name will be? The writers have confirmed that we WILL find out her name before the series ends, so we will know soon enough!