Originally Posted by snguyen
When your great-grandhildren and descendants beyond that trying researching their family history, this is all going to be so confusing for them. Sometimes it is just simpler to go with tradition. I am also a feminist, but my love of having one family name that unites us in the eyes of others trumps that in this instance.
My divorced sister-in-law went back to her maiden name after the divorce, but her kids have their father's last name. Now she is engaged to a new man, and has talked about keeping her maiden name. So what on earth is the identity of this new family going to be? "Hello, you have reached the Anderson-Brooks-Wellington residence?" For people who meet her through the new hubby or her kids, for the rest of her life, she will be Mrs. "new hubby" or Mrs. "name of children." And not that we should all live our lives for the sake of others, but think how hard it would be for someone to try and look her up when necessary and her name is completely different than both her husband AND her kids. It also can make other people resentful on some level when there is no way they can even make an educated guess what your name should be.
All in all, give the kids their father's last name. Just because I don't have my maiden name anymore doesn't mean I belong any less to my own family or any more to DH's. And frankly, my maiden name was a whole lot easier for everyone than it is for English-speakers to figure out DH's. Nevertheless, it was a happy sacrifice on my part for the sake of our new family.
Just my 2-cents worth.
Ah, the tradition argument always raises my hackles. Lots of things were tradition (being allowed to beat one's wife with a stick, so long as it was not thicker than one's thumb, slavery, denying women the right to vote, etc.) that people upheld because it was tradition. Sorry, the tradition argument doesn't work for me.
Neither does the family tree argument. I'm adopted--an old-school, 1970s closed adoption...which means that family trees mean very little to me. I am the start of my own family tree, at least so far as genetics is concerned (always fun in school biology, when we had to trace family lineage for dominant/recessive genes, which is a different thread entirely...). I mean, I guess it's fun and all to be able to research one's family tree, if that's something that interests you, but I don't see it as a valid argument for why a person should change her (or his) last name. Plus, given the current mania for ancestor-hunting, I'd guess folks for whom family trees are important will leave behind the documentation future progeny might want to document a family tree.
Finally, the issue of belonging isn't why I kept my last name--it's an issue of my identity. I was "Firstname Lastname" long before I met DH, and all that I accomplished was as such. Why should that person "disappear" (at least legally) just because we decided to sign a marriage contract as two equal parties?
Hmmm...I realize this post probably sounds contentious, which I don't mean it to be, but the whole tradition argument (which I get from family members) really rankles me. So, my apologies if this comes across as spoiling for a fight...I think I'm just feeling super-cranky today.
|I am late to the party but this thread is super interesting to me. No one has mentioned the alternative that my DH and I chose -- alternating last names. Our first son has his last name (he went first bc the first name we chose was the only boy name we liked that went with his last name) and our second son has my last name. We plan on 4 kids so it will hopefully come out even. I *sort of* understand why people want to have one family name, but I don't share those feelings. I was never going to consider changing my name to my DH's because I hate his last name and because I have a law degree and after studying about coverture there was no way I could wrap my head around doing something that has historical echoes of women as property. If other women want to do it, that's their choice, and most do, but I just couldn't.
DH and I considered this option as well...but we don't know if we'll decide to have more than one kid, so we figured we'd go with the hyphenation, so all parties are represented equally (he's also an attorney