I am not "Mrs. Hisfirst." - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 41 Old 10-22-2009, 10:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So my partner and I are getting married this weekend.

I have made it clear (very clear) that I am not changing my name. Neither is he.

...so why is EVERYONE addressing EVERYTHING to "Mr. and Mrs. Hisfirst Hislast?"

It's bad enough that they're ignoring my preferences. "ProtoLawyer Histlast" is bad enough--why does my name completely go away?

These are not (all) older folks who cling to their Emily Post or anything...OK, my grandma is 84 and says things like "I'm a feminist but what about family cohesion?"...but my aunt (who is in her 50s, had a kid as a single mother through a donor, has a successful business under a stage name she assumed for the business) did it. An old co-worker in her 30s asked me: "So what's your new last name?" and I said "I'm not changing it, but his last name is Hislast" and she STILL addressed a card to "Mr. and Mrs. Hisfirst Histlast."

WHY!??!!!

Those of you who did not change your name: Is this a battle you have to keep fighting? I don't bother with people who I will never see again--when the furniture store person addressed me two years ago as "Mrs. Hislast" I didn't say anything--but I kind of feel like I have to keep correcting people if it's going to turn out OK.

ProtoLawyer (the now-actual lawyer, this isn't legal advice,  please don't take legal advice from some anonymous yahoo on the Internet)
Spouse (the political geek) * Stepdaughter (the artist) * and introducing...the Baby (um, he's a baby? He likes shiny things).
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#2 of 41 Old 10-22-2009, 10:48 PM
 
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I ignore it because to be honest it does not bother me. We have been married over 12 years now and have 2 kids. I sometimes get called by his name and sometimes by mine. Sometimes he even gets called by my last name if people know me first. It is tradition to call a couple by his names so a lot of people just stick with that to be safe. I do find that most people IME when they find out apologize and ask which name to use. I just shrug and tell them to pick either name as I use his name socially.

What does bother me are the assumptions that since my name is different that my kids are not my kids. Or when the school assumed my DH and I were divorced and I had remarried.
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#3 of 41 Old 10-22-2009, 11:12 PM
 
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no....i just stopped getting so charged over it. at first it was a big deal to me b/c it was new, fresh, and it had been a big discussion between dh and i before we married. still (7yrs later) it registers with me if we get something addressed that way but i don't get offended. the bigger issue for us is that we aren't mr. and mrs. but dr. and dr. and with 2 last names it gets tricky.

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#4 of 41 Old 10-22-2009, 11:24 PM
 
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I think it's because weddings have a lot of tradition involved, and a lot of traditional etiquette is often incorporated, even by otherwise non-traditional folks. If it bugs you, I'd make a funny, lighthearted little statement on your wedding website/blog (if you have one) - something to the effect of, "BTW... we're still going to just be Ms. ProtoLawyer YourLast and Mr. HisFirst HisLast... please don't send things to Mr. & Mrs. HisFirst HisLast... it's confusing the mailman!" or something more clever... I'm not at my most clever at the moment!

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#5 of 41 Old 10-22-2009, 11:31 PM
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It comes up off and on. DH's family screws it up, mostly on purpose. Other people get it wrong on accident and if it's going to be ongoing and it matters, I correct them, otherwise I ignore it. (Sometimes it's DH who gets stuck with my last name which amuses me and doesn't phase him at all.)

When DH was in the Marine Corps they were so confused by it that he ended up taking in copies of our marriage certificate a million (okay, maybe it was just a dozen) times to get the benefits and names straight. After he got out, it got easier. And now we live in SF, so anything goes here. . . .

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#6 of 41 Old 10-22-2009, 11:52 PM
 
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My first thought is that you should mark things as "not known at this address" but then your mail carrier will probably stop delivering your dh's mail which would suck. So instead, tell your family that you can always tell junk mail because it comes to the wrong name and you'll be shredding it unopened.

Then if they ask you about something that got sent to Mrs. HisFirst HisLast, you never saw it. "Oh wait, did you send it to Mrs. HisFirst HisLast? Yeah, then I shredded it. My name is Proto Lawyer."
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#7 of 41 Old 10-22-2009, 11:53 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crl View Post
It comes up off and on. DH's family screws it up, mostly on purpose. Other people get it wrong on accident and if it's going to be ongoing and it matters, I correct them, otherwise I ignore it. (Sometimes it's DH who gets stuck with my last name which amuses me and doesn't phase him at all.)

When DH was in the Marine Corps they were so confused by it that he ended up taking in copies of our marriage certificate a million (okay, maybe it was just a dozen) times to get the benefits and names straight. After he got out, it got easier. And now we live in SF, so anything goes here. . . .

Catherine
I *did* take dh's last name and our marriage certificate got photocopied like 10 times by 3 different offices. I don't think the military's computers like talking to each other.
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#8 of 41 Old 10-23-2009, 12:04 AM
 
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No matter how many times I say I kept my last name, my own family members will forget and address things to me as Mrs. DH or Mrs bajamergrrl-DH. I just let it go. I don't even think about our last names very much anymore. I'm just glad that our difference in last names hasn't affected the things that matter like insurance and such.
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#9 of 41 Old 10-23-2009, 12:20 AM
 
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I love getting mail addressed to Mrs. DH's first and last name. If I had decided not to change my name though it would really irk me. i would just send thank you notes and sign them with your whole name really really big. like half the card.

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#10 of 41 Old 10-23-2009, 12:21 AM
 
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It's not about your name, it's about your title. Since you're married to your DH that makes you the Mrs. Hisfirst Hislast. You might have other titles like Ms. Protolawyer or whathave you, that you preferred to be addressed as, but that doesn't change the validity of the other title. It is like when Prince Charles married Camilla and she had like 80 titles to choose from, and she didn't choose Princess of Wales (the most prestigious of the available titles) out of respect for Diana, and instead chose Duchess of Cornwall as her preferred title. That doesn't change that she is the Princess of Wales. But it is rude to address her that way, just as it is rude to address you as Mrs. Hisfirst Hislast.
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#11 of 41 Old 10-23-2009, 12:28 AM
 
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It hasn't gone away yet for us. Someone at DD1's school asked DH the other day if we were even married since we had separate last names. Not that it really matters if we weren't but annoying that was what they thought just because of the last names.

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#12 of 41 Old 10-23-2009, 12:31 AM
 
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We had some cards and stuff show up around the wedding addressed to Mr. and Mrs. HisFirstName HisLastName. I never took offense. I think most people were trying to be sort of respectful and proper and some were just being playful . I don't think I've seen anything like that show up since and it's been about 8 years now.

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#13 of 41 Old 10-23-2009, 12:56 AM
 
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I just had to jump back in and say that I'm a little envious of those of you who kept your own last names. I love my maiden name and although I kept it as a middle name, I wish I had kept it as my last name. At the time, I thought it would be too confusing if/when we had kids, but DH didn't care in the slightest, so I wish I'd gone for it. *sigh* So, yeah, defend your name!

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#14 of 41 Old 10-23-2009, 12:59 AM
 
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As a society we like to think we have moved past all the traditions about marriage, but in reality we haven't. The automatic assumption that a woman will change her name when she marries is proof of that.

The Mrs. Hisfirstname Hislastname or Mr. and Mrs. Hisfirstname Hislastname both bug the crap out of me. I know plenty of women who change their last name, I have yet to meet a single one who changed her first name too. Mostly though it bugs me because it pretty much elimiates the woman as a human being and she's just a part of him and is there for addressed through him.

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#15 of 41 Old 10-23-2009, 01:11 AM
 
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Oddly enough the only person who address me by mail by Mrs.Hislastname was one of my own friends! She, to this day, STILL does this. I haven't corrected her since 8 years into the marriage, it doesn't bother me anymore. I feel more like.."Isn't that cute"..

I know when Dh and I get introduced with our separate names people do pause but really, so what?

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#16 of 41 Old 10-23-2009, 04:18 AM
 
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I still cringe. It feels like I don't count as an equal. I took my husband's last name, but I did not take his first name. And I know it's a traditional thing and blah, blah, blah, but I hate it. I'm a whole person too.
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#17 of 41 Old 10-23-2009, 06:14 AM
 
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Yes, I kept my last name too. It does cause some hassle, and I get fed up explaining that DH and I are in fact married and DD is *our* daughter (not his, because she has his last name). And I still frequently get addressed as Mrs. HisLastName anyway, despite explaining it all, a lot.

Some of the worst offenders are the more traditional members of my family, who had a hard enough time wrapping their heads round the fact that I got married in a registry office, wearing purple, to someone of a different religious background to me. The fact that I also chose to keep my last name seems to be a bridge too far for them!

I had such hassle when they used to send me parcels when I was living in the Czech Republic. Standard over there is to leave a note saying there's a parcel for you at the post office and you have to bring your ID to go collect your parcel. Well, of course they addressed the parcels as Mrs. HisLastName and since that's not actually my name I don't have any ID stating that it is. I ended up having to bring both my passport and a copy of my marriage certificate and try to explain (in very bad Czech) that my family didn't know what my real name was! I think a couple of times the parcel was actually sent back to them because whoever was working behind the counter that day couldn't or wouldn't understand what I was saying. But they continued to do it anyway!

At least here I can explain myself - though it gets tedious having to do it all the time.

It's definitely a hang-over from the days when women were just chattels of their men-folk. You had your father's name until you got married then you were your husband's property and bore his name to show it. At least things have moved on from Roman times when girls didn't even have their own first name either, just a female version of their father's name. So Julius could have four daughters, all called Julia - way to make a girl feel special!!

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#18 of 41 Old 10-23-2009, 09:08 AM
 
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For what it is worth, women who do take their husbands name are whole people too. They are not selling out or losing themselves. It is not about tradition or something leftover from the days of being chattel as much as a wonderful union and honoring that union. Women who do not change their name can honor their union just that same as women who do. It is not a war or a right or wrong way. It is a very personal decision and ought to be respected. Please do not assume things about, label and/or look down on women who take their husbands name.

Protolawyer, I would hope that people would respect your decision no matter what you decide. Sorry you are frustrated! CONGRATS on your WEDDING! I hope it is JOYFUL and FUN!:ca rrot
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#19 of 41 Old 10-23-2009, 10:58 AM
 
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I took my husbands name, and it doesn't bother me one bit (and I don't even like him right now. ). I am still me, and will always be me. It never changed who I am.

On a lighter note, when I was sending out the invititations for my wedding, and I sent one to my MOH mother and stepfather, I wrote Mr. and Mrs. Herfirstname Hislastname, and didn't even realize I had done it! They got a huge kick out of it.
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#20 of 41 Old 10-23-2009, 11:12 AM
 
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His father was furious with me for not changing my name. They still address things the other way after 19 years..sigh....he took it as an insult. Now the funny part is that I didn't care one way or the other. DH wanted me to keep my name.

My dd has his last name. I have been asked if Im really her mom a few times.

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#21 of 41 Old 10-23-2009, 11:15 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
As a society we like to think we have moved past all the traditions about marriage, but in reality we haven't. The automatic assumption that a woman will change her name when she marries is proof of that.

The Mrs. Hisfirstname Hislastname or Mr. and Mrs. Hisfirstname Hislastname both bug the crap out of me. I know plenty of women who change their last name, I have yet to meet a single one who changed her first name too. Mostly though it bugs me because it pretty much elimiates the woman as a human being and she's just a part of him and is there for addressed through him.
Amen!


Ok, here I am all soapboxy, rant ahead, please turn your heads! I know plenty of women who were mildly depressed over the name change, many women I know just do it because they're supposed to, but don't seem all that ok with it. I get furious about Mrs. John Smith, when it's really Jane Jones. I try to keep it in, but it so offends me. Would anyone, anyone go for Mr. Jane Jones? Really?

Seriously, why is a given name so important to a man, but so insignificant for a woman. I've had friends husbands get all ticked off if I slip up and call a friend by the name I've known her for far longer than they'd even known each other. It so feels like I"m being told: "she's mine now!"

We just married at the courthouse, so we didn't get presents and all that. Most of my family figured I probably wouldn't change, (they were shocked enough that I wore a dress) so once we announced we got married, they asked if I was still Leah G and then asked if he was gonna be Mr. G too! Well, no. But anyways, I usually tell people when they look all confused at the names: "we both kept our names." I wanted to make a hybrid last name for DD, but she's hyphenated.

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#22 of 41 Old 10-23-2009, 11:17 AM
 
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First, congrats~!

Second, I HATE THIS! I took my husband's name. I really didn't want to, but honestly I felt pressured. Hyphenating would have been way too much trouble because my maiden name is a bear. That said, I am livid when anyone calls me Mrs. Anything. I prefer Ms. A man's (whatever that is called - connotation?) doesn't change due to marital status so I will be darned if I will be classified that way.

5 years of marriage later and it still bugs me that I caved on the name. I think I am finally used to being called that, but it still bugs me on a fundamental level. I know it makes everything easier (and no one mis-pronounces it), but I still get upset that I had to lose part of myself to get married and DH didn't.

I think people do it that way though for convenience' sake. Mr. and Mrs. Bob and Martha Lastname is kinda awkward, so they do it the other way.

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#23 of 41 Old 10-23-2009, 12:02 PM
 
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dh and i are serious feminists. i am all about 'her' keeping her last name, 'him' adopting her last name, 'her' adopting his, both people hyphenating, or both choosing a new last name together. whatever floats your boat.

my highschool bff kept her name, and while i always address her and refer to her individually by her correct name, i refer to the family as the hislasts. sometimes i'll call them the herlast-hislasts but i usually just use his name in the interest of simplicity. it does not bother her.

my grownup bff changed her name, but just yesterday i accidentally called her by herfirst hermaiden. it's a hard habit to break! and since they lived together for several years before marrying, i was used to referring to them as the hislast-herlasts and still sometimes do. to me, she will always be herfirst hermaiden (and a part of her wishes she had kept her name, and ideally that her man would have taken her name).

for myself, i feel there is something magical and transformative about marriage and forming a new family. i wanted a name change, both to reflect a shift in my personal identity, as well as having a unified family name to reflect that, yes, we are establishing a new family here. we talked about the possibility of choosing an older family name together (my mom's maiden name, his mom's maiden name, etc) or some other last name that held meaning for us. ultimately, i convinced dh that we should both have his original last name because, as someone with a very common first name, he was always known as 'firstname lastname' and has some local notoriety, so many people know his name without knowing him personally. i enjoy our family being 'the our-street lastnames' and sign my name 'mrs hisfirst hislast' just for the kitsch factor. and when people sometimes introduce me as myfirst maidenname, i just smile and say 'hislast'.
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#24 of 41 Old 10-23-2009, 12:26 PM
 
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Meh. Doesn't bother me. I never changed my name because I saw no point in it, not because I was interested in being a soldier in some cultural battlefield over tradition vs. a particular perception of the recognition of women's full personhood. It's just not something I can get worked up about.

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As a society we like to think we have moved past all the traditions about marriage
I have never once noticed this to be true.
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#25 of 41 Old 10-23-2009, 01:26 PM
 
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I've been married for 28 blissful years and did not take my husband's name. Back then, it was extremely unusual not to do so. The little old ladies who worked at the town hall were beside themselves, and tried to convince me that I'd be arrested by IRS agents and would never be covered by social security.

Some of the family members were weirded out, but didn't make too much of a fuss. My MIL was soooo upset. She continued to send cards to me addressed Mrs. Hislastname for the first several years we were married. We asked her nicely to stop repeatedly. Finally, I started marking them "return to sender, addressee unknown" and she got the message. After 28 years though, she will still introduce me to strangers and while she will use my name, she adds, "But they really are married."

We've grown to love each other, but she just can't help herself, and I'm sure she'd be thrilled to death if I changed my name after all this time. My BIL married a few years ago and his wife didn't take his name, either. My new SIL was so grateful that I'd broken my MIL in on the subject.

I don't get much flack for it, but the assumption is always going to be that you are Mrs. Hislastname. Schools are particularly bad about it. They aren't malicious, just antediluvian. It doesn't bother me that much and I sort of take a perverse amusement in correcting them.
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#26 of 41 Old 10-23-2009, 01:30 PM
 
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I took dh's last name and generally have no issue with that. I've never really used my last name in a professional sense so as long as my first name stays I'm fine. My brother and I will be the very last generation of our line of my maiden name however... so I was a little sad to give it up for this reason. My brother and his wife are not going to have children and my children have dh's last name.

HOWEVER, I hate, hate, hate when something addressed to me labels me, "Mrs Hisfirst Hislast". Basically it's like they are labeling me The Wife. Maybe this wouldn't bother me so much if it weren't for the fact that people tend to remember dh but forget about me. I couldn't even count the number of times I'm just referred to as "Hisfirst's Wife". It's been that way throughout our entire relationship. Dh's friends remember my name but, his co-workers at his 9 to 5 and network of people in his sport have trouble with this. I want to scream, "I'M HERE TOO AND I HAVE A NAME!" but many of them continue to forget because they aren't interested in taking the time to pay any attention to me when I'm present. When dh is near he corrects them but, even that doesn't seem to help. It wouldn't bug me so much if they were accomidating or made me feel overly welcome.

On the other hand I'm sure it doesn't help others remember names when dh and I only refer to one another by pet names. Dh has never been shy about calling me by a pet name (it's an especially mushy one too) in front anyone, anywhere.

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#27 of 41 Old 10-23-2009, 01:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, all.

Yeah, I think the biggest irritation is "Mrs. Hisfirst Hislast," when it's not even "Mr. and Mrs. Hisfirst Hislast." I got something addressed to me as "Mrs. Hisfirst Hislast" (a way-belated birthday card) and I was kind of like, come on.

I know "Mrs." technically means "Wife of," so speaking precisely, "Mrs. ProtoLawyer MyLast" will not exist.

It is relatively new, though, which is probably why I'm reacting so viscerally. Maybe in a few months (when I won't be addressed by any title or last name by the overwhelming majority of the people who make the assumptions), I'll be over it.

I've been married before and I did change my name that time (and back again after the divorce) and it never, ever felt right (even well before the marriage went south)--which is one big reason I'm not changing it again.

(As an aside: My partner received junk mail to "Hisfirst MYEX'SLAST once. We both found that hilarious.)

I prefer "Ms." as well, and have since I was 15. I am going to pick my battles, though...I'm not going to argue with my ill, elderly grandmother, or my stepdaughter's friends, or the meter reader. I will gently correct friends and other family, though.

Oh, on edit: I will have a stepMIL (who did change her name when she married my future FIL) who has no children in common with my FFIL, so I don't think she has an emotional investment in me changing my name. I've not heard anything one way or another.

My partner's mother died years ago, but she was long divorced from his father, changed her name back, had remarried and kept her birth name that time, so I don't think I'd get any flack on that side, either.

My parents don't care, though they joke that I should change my name, because my partner's name is much shorter than mine and further up in the alphabet.

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#28 of 41 Old 10-23-2009, 02:03 PM
 
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Nobody has ever addressed me as Mrs. hisfirst hislast. I have my husband's last name, but as another poster said for me it was a transformation thing. I don't have happy memories associated with my maiden name so getting rid of it was one of the happier days in my life. We've always been addressed as LT A. and Mrs. Katie D.

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#29 of 41 Old 10-23-2009, 02:07 PM
 
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Another funny side... I changed my name when I got married. Previously, I was commonly referred to as firstname abbreviatedHERlastname (just the first syllable - Mac). DH is commonly reffered to as just "abbreviatedHISlastname" (Shibby).

Now, when many people refer to our family, even though we're the hislastname family, they often call us the "abbreviatedherlastname-abbreviatedhislastname" (MacShibby) Family. I like it.

Me+DH+DS1+DS2+Dog=me and a house full of guys, which is really just peachy, thanks.
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#30 of 41 Old 10-23-2009, 02:24 PM
 
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I changed my last name when I got married. I did not change my first name. So getting anything with Mrs hisfirst hislast, or even Mr. and Mrs. hisfirst hislast drives me insane.
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