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Last name?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

So, we have different last names.  And there is some debate as to what the new one's last name will be.  Our names both end in -er and have the same number of syllables (2), so in my opinion, don't flow well hyphenated.  Part of me is fine being traditional and it just having his last name, but another part of me can't shake the feeling that it shouldn't be just the default.  I kept my last name for a reason, know what I mean?  If the kid just gets my last name, it will cause serious waves (there was a near riot when the in-laws found out I kept my name and they still refuse to acknowledge it on mail, etc) and he isn't good with that.  I'm not sure about combining them in a creative way, because they are fairly similar.  This was a source of last nights insomnia, any thing I am missing?  Any pearls of wisdom?   I had the idea that if it was a girl (he thinks it is), it gets his last name.  If it is a boy (I think it is), it gets my name.  ;) 

post #2 of 26
I kept my name and allowed to the dh to keep his. My kids bear a long hyphenated name so that while I'm raising them.. I get partial "credit" for them. Moms do most of the work.. why the heck should kids get his name?

I do know enlightened women who kept their own names at first but then chickened out and took their hubby's once the babies came along.

I've also met couples who give the girls the wife's surname and give the boys the husband's surname... but that only works if you manage to have one of each. I met a guy who later divorced his wife because all three girls had her name and he really, really wanted his name to go forward. He married someone 15 years younger and they all have the same name now. I personally think this man is kind of a bully.
post #3 of 26

This is a difficult topic for me right now, given the issues with my son. I can give you a little insight from the child's perspective....


When I had my ds his bio-dad and I were together (but I kinda knew it wouldn't last). I was pressured into giving my ds ex's last name. I left ex when my ds was less than 2 months old. Ex was in and out of the picture for a couple years and then disappeared completely for a couple years. He's recently come back into the picture. My ds (who is now 7 and has autism) is so horribly confused by everything. It breaks my heart when I lay down with him and he asks me why he doesn't have the same last name as I do. I think a part of him thinks he's not part of this family because he doesn't share the same last name. DS does not consider his bio-dad his dad (he calls him by his first name, etc). He considers my dh his dad (dh has been around since ds was 3 and does everything a dad would do). DS doesn't understand why he has some random guy's last name instead of our family last name. There's nothing I can do about it, unless ex were to agree to let me change ds's last name (and he would never agree to that, because he doesn't give a crap about what's best for ds). If I could go back in time, I would give the child my last name, no matter what. It has caused a huge headache not only with my ds and his thoughts, but with school/therapy/dr issues as well. In our family, this is going to be made worse by the fact the new baby will have the same last name as I/dh do, and ds will be the only one with a different last name. I just keep telling ds that when he's older he can change his last name to ours if he wants to but that there's nothing I can do to change it right now.

post #4 of 26

We aren't legally married, so we have different last names; I just wanted to share another option you might not know about. We gave our kids their own last name. We made it up. Most folks don't know you can do that.

post #5 of 26

 I have friends who made up the last name, I have friends who gave both (hyphenated or not), I have friends where they have the moms last name, and friends where the kids are different depending on gender or whatever they decide.


Most people go with the dad's last name, and that is what we did. My husband felt very strongly about this, when we got married he said it was very important to him, and since my family name (of course, it is my father's last name, actually) is EXTREMELY common and was something arbitrarily chosen by my great-grandparents when they immigrated anyway, I decided it made sense.


Annoyingly, it does mean I kind of have an alias though... have had to get used to being referred to by their last name, ever since DS started school. And I did have a pang when I had to give each baby a name- before they were referred to as "baby <mylastname>"


Like Livacreature my in-laws are reluctant to acknowledge that I have my own last name, and some in that family simply do not. So I hear you on them freaking out! But, it does sound like you and DH have come up with something that you are happy with. 


post #6 of 26

oh and to add... my friends who were married in Austria said they had to decide when they got married whose name the kids would have when they did the marriage license (they decided hers). She said women keep their names there. Friend in Italy said the same- she changed her name and people think its odd- like she is her husband's sister or something. She actually went back to USING her maiden name which is not even her legal name to avoid confusion. Her son has her husband's name.

post #7 of 26

DH and I both hyphenated with each others' names. This was "devastating" to DH's parents; we gave DS Dh's last name. We didn't want to hyphenate him.

post #8 of 26

I agree, it's pretty arbitrary that they get the dad's name. Our solution to that was to be just as arbitrary, but less fixed.


We flipped for last name at our wedding ceremony, and I won, so DH took my name. Everyone in the family gets my maiden name as a last name, and DH's bachelor name as a middle name.


This was not popular with the extended family, most notably my older relatives (some continue to address mail to me as Mrs. DHFirstName DHBachelorName -- I am always tempted to respond on my professional letterhead, i.e., Dr. MyFirstName MyLastName, just to play their game) but this works for us.


You could flip to see which last name to give the little one. Make a ceremony out of it and invite the relatives. winky.gif


ETA: Just to add to the stories of regional practices, in the French-speaking part of Canada, it is very common for everyone to keep their name. Daughters get mom's name; sons get dad's name. (Not sure what happens with same sex parents.)

post #9 of 26

We gave DD his last name even though we weren't married at the time, and we will give this baby his as well. We are married now and I kept my last name though I may change it in the future, havent really decided.

post #10 of 26

DDC Crashing -- I thought long and hard about this and didn't love our solution, but am okay with it.  My husband's last name is quite long, and three syllables.  Mine is shorter, but two.  Together, they're a real mouthful and I didn't want to hyphenate them.  He offered, but I didn't like that solution and he agreed it would be clunky.  We each like our own last names, are comfortable not having the same last names, and didn't want to create a new name, either.


So, I like my husband's last name, but I REALLY wanted our child (first and maybe only) to have my last name.  I don't like the idea that the father's last name is the "default" and I wanted to take a stand.  At first my husband seemed fine with that.  Then he worried that his last name would die out.  He made the point that there are NO babies on his side of the family to carry on his last name.  He does have a sister who could have a baby with his last name, but it seems unlikely she would make that choice.  I, on the other hand, have (so far) 2 babies born to cousins of mine with my last name.  Now, they're both girls, and who knows whether they'll keep their names or not, but it did make me feel okay with giving in and letting our son have his father's last name, in the hopes that the name will survive.  I gave our son my last name as a "second middle name" -- basically, it's on the birth certificate and announcement, but we won't use it regularly.


I also stipulated that if we ever decide to have a second child, he or she WILL have my last name.  I don't care if our children have different last names.   I am NOT budging on this (unless I someday change my mind).  ;)


Early on in our discussion (before we knew the gender), I thought the most fair thing would be to say "If it's a girl, it has one last name (either one -- I said I'd let him pick), and if it's a boy, the other," and then when we learned the gender it would, in effect, be a "coin toss" by nature that decided the last name, but my husband wouldn't agree to that.  Too bad, because I thought it was a creative solution!

post #11 of 26

We are not married. Assuming we are still together when the baby is born, no reason right now to suspect we won't be, the baby will get his last name just like the other two we have in common have. His last name ends in -ER and is also two syllables. If, for some reason, we are not together, the baby will get my maiden name, also ends in -ER and has two syllables. 


Can you make your last name the baby's middle name and use Daddy's for the last name? That's what they use to do in the "old" days for women that married, right?

post #12 of 26

Ahh...it can be tough when the IL's get up in arms.  I kept my last name and at first all our mail from DH's family had me with his last name.  His parents didn't even really care that I kept my name (I don't think).  Eventually only mail from DH's grandma had me with the wrong last name.  Nowadays it's hit or miss from his grandma.


But, then DS came along.  We already knew we didn't want to hyphenate.  I taught a student who had her mom's last name while her little brother had their dad's last name (her mom was the author of Mothershock: Loving Every Other Minute of It...in case you know the book).  Since we were planning on two kids, DH and I got into the idea that our family of four would have equal numbers representing each last name.  So, DS got my last name (lady's first orngbiggrin.gif) and the new baby will have DH's last name.


I suspect that DH's parents were not quite comfortable at first with DS having my name, but they are not the kind of people to make waves about something like that.  I did hear that DH's grandma didn't think it was right.  So...very often the mail she sends DS has DH's last name.  Or says something like "DS's first name in care of DH's full name."  The big problem has been that she sends checks to DS at Xmas and birthdays.  The first time, we had to get her to re-write it with my last name because the bank wouldn't accept it.  Now she just writes DS's first or first and middle name and DH writes in my last name (mimicing her handwriting).  She never says anything to us about it and is totally friendly and loving whenever we see her.  So, it just is what it is.  And...she's in her 90's...so I imagine we only have a handful of years left to deal with forging checks.  Sheepish.gif

post #13 of 26


Originally Posted by ~pi View Post


This was not popular with the extended family, most notably my older relatives (some continue to address mail to me as Mrs. DHFirstName DHBachelorName -- I am always tempted to respond on my professional letterhead, i.e., Dr. MyFirstName MyLastName, just to play their game) but this works for us.


This is one tradition that needs to go the way waiting for the phone to ring, no? I really, really am bothered by this. I love your idea (so, so much.)



post #14 of 26

We all have the same last name. Dh and I each took eachothers name making it a hyphenated last name and the kids have the same hyphenated last name. In hindsite I wish that we had omitted the hyphon just running them both together (it is amazing how many people don't know what a hypen is or choose to omit one name or the other). I am happy with our choice and we all have the same last name and nobody had to give up anything.

post #15 of 26

We're a same-sex couple, and when we got married I took DP's name.  I felt it was important that she have a socially recognized connection to our kids being that she's not carrying them.  We all have the same last name.  It actually helps at border crossings and other such occasions!

post #16 of 26

I have to say I love that everyone in my family shares the same last name. I took Dh's last name when we got married, but it wasn't because of tradition or me "chickening" out in any way. People choose to change their name or not change their name, hyphenate names or make up a new name for different reasons. I did not grow up particularly close to my biological father, whose last name I shared and the name was often mispronounced and misspelled. I was/am more connected to Dh and it was convenient that his last name is easy to spell and pronounce. If I had been in love with my maiden name, I would've kept it. The whole thing seems pretty arbitrary to me, unless you are really into genealogy or something!

post #17 of 26

I'm lucky to not have to decide about the surname.  When DH and I got married, I sort of assumed we'd just have our own separate last names, but he chose to take my last name, with his original last name as a second middle name.  His mom was cool with this (she has a different last name from DH and his father, and she hasn't been with FIL since DH was a little boy).  DH's dad, a moody, awkward, difficult man to begin with, was moody and difficult and awkward about it and asked us, as the time, to consider giving his name as a middle name to any children of ours, so it can live on - nevermind that he already has a grandchild with his surname whom he's alienated with his awful racist sexist old man behaviors.  When we told him about the pregnancy he again immediately asked us to give the child his surname, and cited a famous poet with the same surname as another reason to give the babe that name.


Babe will have the surname DH and I share, which was my name from birth.  As for FIL's surname as a middle name (because as far as FIL is concerned, it really is about him, not about DH's former name), I told DH it's up to him.  I don't imagine we'll do it, though.  I find it incredibly obnoxious that FIL would try to guilt us into giving our child a particular middle name, as if the baby's name were some sort of referendum on FIL's worth as a person.  He takes everything so friggin personally!  


Uhh... anyway, I don't know what to suggest for you, livacreature... I'm just glad I don't have to deal with choosing a surname.  Good luck.  bigeyes.gif

post #18 of 26
Originally Posted by RosemaryS-F View Post

This is one tradition that needs to go the way waiting for the phone to ring, no? I really, really am bothered by this.





Originally Posted by RosemaryS-F View Post


I love your idea (so, so much.)


Thanks! Which -- the flip, or sending a response on professional letterhead? winky.gif (I like the former a lot, the latter is just my frustration showing!)

Originally Posted by starling&diesel View Post

We all have the same last name.  It actually helps at border crossings and other such occasions!

I can totally see that.


Originally Posted by meggles View Post

I have to say I love that everyone in my family shares the same last name.

Ditto. It's why DH and I both agreed to take each other's name, depending on how the flip went. I completely understand why people keep their own name, but having one family name does make life easier.


Originally Posted by yellowdart View Post
I find it incredibly obnoxious that FIL would try to guilt us into giving our child a particular middle name, as if the baby's name were some sort of referendum on FIL's worth as a person.  He takes everything so friggin personally!  

Ugh. That sounds difficult. Sorry you have to deal with that level of self-absorption.


post #19 of 26

I'm one of the women who took her husband's last names.  In many ways I'm not traditional at all, but in many ways I still am.  Good or bad is all others opinions but I'm happy with the choice I made.  I don't feel in any way personally that I "chickened out" or that I'm not "enlightened" or whatever others might say just because I chose to take my husband's last name.  I love that we all have the same last name personally, although it's not one I would have chosen (super freaking common!!!).


However if both DH and I had 2 different last names I would rather "create" a last name from both of ours to represent BOTH of us.  So maybe my kids would have been Kremson or Wilmers had we gone that route, lol.  :)  I'm personally not a fan of hyphenated names so that wouldn't be an option for us.  And there's no way I'd allow just HIS name and I think it would be equally unfair to have JUST my name as well. 



post #20 of 26

I kept my father's name, and the kids have DH's.  It's OK with me, it's a beautiful name.  Occasionally (rarely) I think about using it, esp because mine is frequently misspelled and/or mispronounced.  But I'll never change it.  I do respond happily to Mrs HisLastName when friends of the kids address me, why sweat it or make kids uncomfortable?  I typically introduce myself as "MyfFrstName MyLastName, HisFirstName HisLastName's wife."  That way they can connect us appropriately.  I also spent $30 to print up family business cards, which we hand out liberally, so visual learners have a chance to get it. 


BTW my mom's maiden name was simply horrible, and I feel sorry for my uncle & cousins stuck with it for the sake of "carrying on the name."  All the females happily changed on marriage to get away from it. 


In a way, I wish the kids and I had the same name, but  this whole this is not worth stressing over.  The oldsters who really cared are slowly leaving us, the 20-30 somethings don't care at all and are doing all kinds of funky things, and I pity the genealogists 100 years from now. One of my married genealogy friends said simply, "I insist my maiden name is included on my headstone." 


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