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What do you think of this Surname Debate? - Page 5

post #81 of 111
When I was growing up, it never occurred to me that my immediate family had 3 last names all together. I just never thought about it, and no one ever pointed it out.

My mom never changed her last name, since in her culture women keep their last names after marriage.

My sister and I both have our dad's last name.

My brother ended up having our dad's first name as his last name, due to some hospital administrative error. My parents didn't realize this mistake until waaaaay after the fact, and when they did realize it, they were too lazy to change my brother's last name.

Now, in my current family with my partner, we have one child together. Her last name is both of ours combined, a double surname, but not hyphenated. So, it's "Baby [my last name] [his last name]." It also could have been "Baby [his last name] [my last name]," but honestly the order that we have it now just sounds better.
post #82 of 111
I don't think having different last names is an issue either. DS has my ex's last name (his father's), DH and I have different last names and DH insists that any children bear my surname, however we have picked out a couple names that just don't go with my last name and so agreed to use his if the match is just terrible. What's in a name anyway?
post #83 of 111
I will go back and read the responses, but I haven't yet. I'm just going off the OP.

I have my bio father's name but didn't really know him until I was 22. When I had DS at 25, I felt more connected to DH's family, and we gave DS DH's last name. I also had changed my name, but last fall I changed it back to my birth name. We're going to be changing DD and DS's last names to a hyphenated version.

What went into our decision that I think is relevant is that my feelings about my childhood/family of origin/personal identity changed significantly. Though the reasons aren't the same as your husband's reasons, I think the process probably is similar. Growing up with an unknown for your biology is difficult, and I think you should account for the change in your husband's feelings as the reality of his family of origin has become clear to him.

Names are important, but I'm not sure if they're "the hill to die on." I struggle with this issue myself. DH has no problem with whatever surname we'd picked. We actually debated choosing a new name entirely for a while. Still he's been open to considering a lot of possibilities, which I think is important for you and your DH to do. Subverting the dominant (American) paradigm is important to me.

Not only my personal identity but my life's work hinges on feminism, so I get that part of your argument. At the same time, I see some families who don't use the typical white American naming conventions but still have fairly rigid gender roles, so I've come to the point that I don't think the name is the be-all-end-all of showing the world how I feel. In the end, it obviously is important to me, but it's a statement to other people more than my children. The kids know how we live when it comes to gender, but the outside world (especially where we are in the midwest) says, "whoa! There's something different about those people." It's really all about determining what you want to say with the names and why.
post #84 of 111
I don't know what I would do though. Probably do the same thing as you did with the older one.
post #85 of 111
Originally Posted by Barefoot Farmer View Post
I would hyphenate your soon to be born children's names as follows:

First Middle YOURLast-HISLast


First Middle HISLast-YOURLast

Whichever variation sounds better.

AND I would officially change your DD's name to follow that pattern.

Also, b/c you are close with his father, and relishing in your DH's newly understood heritage, you might even consider taking on the hyphenation pattern yourself.

My reasons being that all 4 of your children are from the same father/same mother lineage, your DD is not too old to have established a career () using her current last name that would cause confusion - and at 6 is old enough to explain the change - and young enough for her to be able to accept it without much difficulty or confusion & assimilate it as her last name ongoing, and you don't seem to have too strong a care for the sound of your last name (thus I'm not in favor of keeping/changing only to YOUR last name) yet want to carry on your name (thus I'm not in favor of keeping/changing only to HIS last name).

I believe that honoring family heratige/lineage through last name(s) is admirable. At the very least it makes it easier for future generations to research their past.
post #86 of 111
My kids each have their father's last names, and I'm using my maiden name (so I guess you could say that the 4 of us each have our father's last names.) So there are a total of 3 different last names in the family. It works out fine.

The only time it gets annoying is when signing greeting cards. We can't sign anything "The Lastname Family." So we sign everything "Ruth, DD1, DD2, and DS".

In your situation I'd definitely leave DD1's name alone- she's 6 and IMO that's too old for a parent-imposed name change and too young to choose to change it herself.

I'd suggest either giving all the triplets DH's last name or giving 2 of them his last name and one of them yours.
post #87 of 111
So is the issue that he agreed to the original agreement mostly because he was not particularly attached to his original last name since he was estranged from his (presumed) father?

Those facts have changed, the name itself has changed, and he is no longer in the same situation so if you were discussing it fresh from the start, his feelings about his name might affect what conclusion he'd come to, or whether he'd agree to "giving up" the right to pass along his name?

Imagine that this was the situation back at the time of the original discussion....if he'd known his real father and real name at that time, and hadn't been as easily able to shrug off passing it along. At that time, were you actually discussing the issue and coming to some mutual conclusion, or were you laying out what was your bottom line expectation and being clear that this was the way it would be--could he get on board or not?

If it's the latter, then it sounds like his feelings about his name weren't going to sway your feelings about what name your future children should receive. If it was the former, then it sounds like you were open to discussion or coming to some conclusion that wasn't exactly the first choice you were proposing.

Maybe revisiting that can help you decide whether it was a definite, a deal-breaker kind of thing (to give children YOUR name, no matter what) or something that just happened to work out because he didn't have a strong attachment to his name.

We had a similar situation, not that I was determined to pass along my name, but that I was open to either name being passed along. I didn't want to hyphenate, I didn't want to "automatically" pass along my husband's name, I didn't want to use either surname as a middle name or second middle name (that could depend on the name choices, but as a rule I was settled on picking one or the other name as a surname, and giving a first & middle name.)

I was open to using both last names for different kids, too. I didn't like the idea of a gender-based split, but going in order and alternating seemed democratic.

In that case, we'd have our daughter (she ended up with his name), then our twin sons. The first born twin would have had my last name, and the second twin would have gotten his father's last name. (How freaky would that have been for people to deal with?! Multiples with different last names!!! Way to emphasize the whole "these are two individual people" value! )

My husband was open to all those possibilities, but not really happy about them or equally comfortable with them. He was able to articulate reasons that he was attached to his name and had some feelings about passing it on (having his children have that name), basically bringing to the table the same feelings that I was expressing. (That I wasn't comfortable automatically leaving out my name, not even considering options, etc.)

The things we considered included a range of feelings, like "feeling funny" at the thought of explaining what we were doing (explaining to his elderly parents, for example.) It was clear that we needed to "get behind" what we were doing, especially if there was going to be ANY discomfort in straying from the "expected." (Wouldn't want him jumping through hoops, so to speak, for no reason or for something we weren't particularly invested in.)

In the end, aesthetics played the biggest role. Our daughter's name is really clear and straightforward, and his simple English name really suited it. It was perfect.

My longer, difficultly-spelled German name wouldn't have fit. (Though I love my German name combined with his name....us having our individual names and being paired is VERY aesthetically pleasing to me. Though my name, Amy, fits really like a glove with his last name and if I'd changed my own name it also would be pretty classic.)

We had the same situation with the boys and their names....they do fit very pleasingly with his last name. I already had decided that what we did with the first child would set the trend, unless there was reason to reconsider (if we went with heavily German names, or something.) So it wasn't that we were considering using my name with the boys, just that what we chose DOES fit well with that same last name (even though we were planning to use the same last name as we'd used with our daughter, no matter what.)

I do know someone who went with the mom's last name for their daughter. (The dad was adopted and not very attached to his surname; it was an easy decision to make.) They weren't definitely planning to have more kids, but they'd agreed that if they did, they could switch out and use the dad's name for the second child. I have lost touch with them and don't know if they had any more kids, or what they did for names, but the plan was to alternate surname based on birth order, not gender.

If you decide that all along, it was going to be about a mutual decision (and not just whether or not he could agree to YOUR decision and knowingly get on board), then you could revisit the idea and just agree to name them alternating based on birth order (not gender.)

Then if that idea just doesn't fly with you two (because triplets with different last names is too confusing or whatever), you'll have a bit more of an answer.
post #88 of 111
I am in favour of letting fate decide. E.g. pp's suggestion that first and third get his name; second gets yours.

We did this in a way, though a little further in advance. We flipped for last name at our wedding ceremony. (DH's idea.) I "won," so DH took my name. DH, I and DS all have DH's bachelor name as a middle name.
post #89 of 111
OP, did you guys make a decision yet?
post #90 of 111
nak and havent read all the replies
just wanted to say that i have my fathers last name and my brother has my mothers last name. it has not ever even once been an issue.
post #91 of 111
I have only read the initial post, so apologies if this is out of sync.

Given the new information, I would encourage you to divide it by gender. Girls get your name, boys get his.

Partly basing it on a very old "miss manners" type column that suggested exactly this.

EDIT after reading:
I took my husband's name because I didn't have any fondness for my birth name. A combination of my relationship with my parents, and the little bit I did know about my grandmother's ex-husband.

I have known at least one family that divided their names by gender, and I think that worked okay for them. I may have known another that gave each of their five children a different combination of last names, but I only ever knew them by the father's surname. (I think one child had her name, one had his name, one had hers-his, one had his-hers, or something like that.)

To me, the gender part makes genetic sense. Only girls can pass on the mitochondrial DNA. Only boys can pass on the Y-chromosome.
post #92 of 111
I don't know, thats tough. I changed my last name to DH's after my DS was born (DS got DH's last name), and have kind of regretted it ever since. This is as much because I dislike his dad's family as because of anything else... His mom's family (who we see a LOT more than his dads, thankfully) is wonderful, but of course he has his dad's last name. With DS2, we gave him my last name as his second and still gave him DH's last name. So, I definetly understand the issue...

I think I'd seriously consider changing all of your last name's to a composite of both (hislastname-yourlastname), or else give all the kiddos his last name as a second middle name?
post #93 of 111
I like the idea of gender split. Especially as you have an equal number of kids getting each. DH can have his sons carry on his family name. You can teach you daughters your femenist values.
post #94 of 111
Originally Posted by Ruthla View Post

The only time it gets annoying is when signing greeting cards. We can't sign anything "The Lastname Family." So we sign everything "Ruth, DD1, DD2, and DS".
In this case they could easily sign the Smith/Brown Family since there really are only two names involved.
post #95 of 111
Originally Posted by AlmostAPpropriate View Post
In this case they could easily sign the Smith/Brown Family since there really are only two names involved.
Or hyphenate for this particular situation. I think hyphenating is what the family I knew that did the gender-split did when signing things "The ... Family".
post #96 of 111
Eh, I'm probably the dissenter (and will freely admit I didn't read all 5 pages) but I might feel inclined to change to his last name. It sounds like that's the extended family you are closest to and identify with the most, and that would count for a lot with me. Plus the spelling thing.... my maiden name was easy and spellable, and after 12 years I am still annoyed how often I have to spell my married name (or tell people how to pronounce it...and honestly... it's a simple enough name, very phonetic, it's just unusual). Patriarchy aside, I think using names to honor those you love is a wonderful thing to do.
post #97 of 111
I haven't read, the rest of the thread, just the OP, so as not to influence my answer.

I would go with dividing by gender. All the girls get your surname with DH's as a middle name, and all the boys get DH's surname with yours as a middle name.
post #98 of 111
Haven't read the replies.

As much as I don't love hyphenated names, I think this would be a good situation for hyphenation.

Or else come up with a third name that is somehow a combination of them both.

My third choice would be to change your dd's last name and have all your kids have dh's last name.

I would personally not want my kids having different last names, so that would be my last choice.
post #99 of 111
Originally Posted by ~pi View Post
We did this in a way, though a little further in advance. We flipped for last name at our wedding ceremony. (DH's idea.) I "won," so DH took my name. DH, I and DS all have DH's bachelor name as a middle name.
That is totally awesome! I love it!

In the OP situation though, I think I would make the boys have mom's last name as a middle name and then dad's last name and the girls have dad's last name as middle and then mom's last name.
post #100 of 111
If doing a gender split, why not girls get dad's boys get mom's? That way, when they get married, the mom's name gets passed down. Assuming the boys' wives change their names. That would mean changing dd1's name, but that seems to be inevitable anyway.
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