I need last name help... - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-17-2010, 04:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So, I have a hyphenated given name that I love. I didn't change my name when we got married because I am a professional and name recognition is important in my field. Dh and I talked a lot about future babies' names and have flitted all over the place with ideas:

-we'll make up our own family name (Dh isn't fond of this idea
-I'll just suck it up and change my name
-Dh will change his name (He is not willing)
-Boy children will have the first part of my last name (otherwise it will go away) and girl children will have DH's last name
-Children will all have DH's last name
-Children will each have their own last name ie first part of my last name, DH last name, Dh's maternal father's last name, etc
-Giving children their first name, middles names, my last name, dh's last name

DH was concerned at first if the kids have different last names then people won't think they were "his". I countered that with, well, if we default to your name people might not think they were mine. He has since eased on this point. I just feel so stuck. I never imagined that what last name my child had would matter to me as much as it does. It probably doesn't help that Dh's family hasn't ever been very nice to me and in fact was very unkind to me for the first year we were married. I don't expect them to embrace our kids (it would be *wonderful* if they did but I'm not expecting it) so giving my children their name just seems wrong.

Anyway. If I didn't already have a hyphenated last name I probably would have just done that. Our current solution is giving the kids first name, middles names, my last name, dh's last name which makes for a very long name but seems the most equitable although I'm sure on the birth certificate the "last name" will be Dh's.

Why does this bother me? How do we move on? What would you do in a similar situation?

Thanks!
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Old 08-17-2010, 05:04 PM
 
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No advice, but I'll be watching this thread to see what others have to say ...


I also have a different last name than DH, and I don't have strong feelings about this in general. DH actually has the same last name as my late maternal great-grandparents (who only had daughters), so I think it would be sort of cool for our kids to have that last name and bring it back into the rotation on my side of the family.

However, DH is very much for combining our last names to make a new last name for the baby (but we'd each keep our own). The made-up name actually sounds kind of cool, so I wouldn't have qualms about using it in general. I obviously don't care if our kids have different names than we/I do—but the combined name still strikes me as kind of silly. I can see both sides of it, though, and I think it would be pretty neat to have an original last name myself, so ....

4.5 months to figure it out, I guess!


 
 
 
 

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Old 08-17-2010, 05:17 PM
 
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Do you like your current last name?

I'm not one to get all sentimental about my maiden name, although I kept it because it was easier and I did want to change it for my work, etc. I prefer my husband's name. It is shorter and more generic - my last name is very French and kind of fussy, although oddly it's rather common around where I live.

My kids have my husband's name, because I prefer his name and it goes better with their first names. I will change my name, when the mood strikes....LOL. I'm in no rush, although it does get tiresome to be at the doctors or hospital and have to say over and over again, YES I am the MOTHER of this CHILD.

Could you change your name after your professional career is over, and name your kids after your dh? I don't think it's that big of a deal to have differing names...you most likely will get asked about it but it doesn't seem that uncommon.

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Old 08-17-2010, 05:19 PM
 
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I also have a hyphenated name that I really like and will probably always keep. for some reason, i don't particularly care if my kids have my last name or not. its pretty long and cumbersome, even though I like it for myself.... plus I like dh's last name and his family as well : ) BUT I do know that if I felt differently I think I'd be having the same struggle....

could it work well to double hyphenate the names (have three names), putting them in an order that you like the sound of? I mean, having a really long last name isn't actually problematic, its just sort of new. and my guess is when people started using hyphenated names, it also seemed a little odd.

anyhow, lots of questions, good luck to you on this, I'm curious to hear what you come up with
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Old 08-17-2010, 05:23 PM
 
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I love my name. It means something cool in Swedish. There's not many of us and it suits me.

I allowed my dh to keep his name. Our children bear a hyphenated surname.

In your case, I'd create a new hyphenated name for your kids with part of your name and dh's name together.

I do know folks who did the daughter gets my name... son gets yours... but then they had only daughters and the dh was royally PO'd. As if he blamed her for only having girls on purpose.
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Old 08-17-2010, 06:01 PM
 
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We're a bit up in the air, too. I didn't change my name. Both DH and I have uncommon family names. I wouldn't mind combining our two but I don't think DH would go for it. I'm worried my last name followed by his is too long. The issue is, I have prejudices against his last name. It comes from his father and I have difficulties with my father-in-law--it makes me feel weird to think of my kids having his last name. But, I think I've pretty much resigned myself to giving my kids DH's last name and maybe using family names from my side for first and/or middle names.

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Old 08-17-2010, 06:03 PM
 
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But, I think I've pretty much resigned myself to giving my kids DH's last name and maybe using family names from my side for first and/or middle names.
That doesn't seem fair for your kids to carry the surname of man you don't like. Can you hyphenate and put your name first?
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Old 08-17-2010, 06:12 PM
 
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What if you make all the kids' middle names your hyphenated last name? So they would have a first name, your hyphenated last name as their middle name and then DH's last name?

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Old 08-17-2010, 06:24 PM
 
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I might be no help - I kept my maiden name because of a tribute to my dad. He died when I was 26, and I just felt it was important to keep it since my brother probably isn't having kids.

My child has my dh last name. The funny thing is I run into more problems with me - they call my husband by my last name whenever I call to make appointments or use my credit card.

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Old 08-17-2010, 06:41 PM
 
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My daughter has my husband's last name but we chose special names from my family for her first and middle. We figure all her names are equally important, and this way her full name equally represents both sides.
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Old 08-17-2010, 06:51 PM
 
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Your kids are part of the family. The "family" name is considered your DH's last name. I understand you keeping your maiden name for professional reasons, but you are also still apart of his family now that you are married. So why wouldn't the kids carry his name? I would be upset if I was him also. If you want your kids to carry your maiden name also, then I would find a way to add it in the middle but keep the family name the same. It doesn't matter if your child has 2 names, 3 names of 5 names. KWIM? I have some kids that have three names and some that have more because we couldn't split up past family names that we have given them. Good luck on decided what is best for YOUR family. Not for others. It can be a very difficult choice to make.

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Old 08-17-2010, 06:58 PM
 
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Maybe instead of focusing on available options, you could sit down and talk about what part of the name is important to both of you. For example, maybe he wants his family name to continue? Maybe you do? I was a little bummed to take my husband's name because There are only three "children" left with our family name, and I'm one of them. Not sure if either of my brothers will ever reproduce, so the name might die with us. Anyway, a friend of mine kept her last name when she married, and gave their son her husband's last name. It wasn't really about his family, per se, just the husband.
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Old 08-17-2010, 07:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the suggestions so far. I think if I had a relationship that wasn't so strained and awful with his family I wouldn't have such a visceral reaction to naming our kids that. I do not consider myself as part of dh's extended family and I'm not treated as if I am. Dh and I are our own family. When we file our taxes it is under *my* name. So, I sort of disagree about what our "family" name is...plus sometimes patriarchy just rubs me the wrong way. Sometimes it doesn't. Eh.

We cannot do my last name as middle name because my state won't recongize a hyphenated middle name. I tried. Antiquated. Also, we really love the names we have come up with (miracle! we actually have names picked!) except for the last name situation...

Complicated.

This has been an ongoing conversation for years and we finally have a deadline...grrr. I hate deadlines!

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Old 08-17-2010, 07:13 PM
 
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I didn't change my name either because I was used to how it sounded and I didn't want to go through all the paperwork. Before we had kids we had this discussion. We both wanted the kids to take our last names but he felt stronger about it then me so I let the kids have his last name. I think he wanted his family name to go on since there wasn't many male relatives with it and my dad had a big family so our name is being passed down. I wasn't that attached to my last name and it is more common for the male to pass down the name. It hasn't been an issue yet with me having a different last name then the kids. I didn't want to do a hyphenated name or use two last names.

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Old 08-17-2010, 07:24 PM
 
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It is never too late, I did go back and changed DD1's last name to include mine. I really understand, DH's family has never been kind to me, and every time I hear Mrs. Dh's last name, all I think about is his mother. My kids having my name was very important to me and DH had the paternity fears, that no one would think our kids were his. Our solution was two last names no hyphen although I have been known to add a hyphen in at times. My reasoning then was I thought with no hyphen it would be easier for a child to drop a name if they wished later, it also does make it easy for schools, etc... to "pick" one last name and use only that one. My kids have very long names, it can be a huge PIA at times. DD1 is 7 now, and actually the only child in her entire school with two last names which I find shocking. She has asked why she couldn't have a shorter name, I told her that she has both her parent's names, if she wants to choose one that was fine by us but I went through why each of our last names where important to DH and I, that satisfied her and she hasn't asked since. I do catch her introducing herself with just one last name sometimes, DH's name is at the end of the last names and that one tends to be the one that everyone tries to use. If I had to do it all over again I probably would of stuck my name at the end but I do not have DH's name at all so it would of been an option to change up the order of the names for the kids. I do not regret the double last name for them though.

What is going to happen when they want to get married to a Greene-Thorne and have kids I have no idea. That will be their decision at a later date. What I can say is that at least passing my name one more more generation was so very important to me, I didn't realize just how important it was until my kids did only have DH's name.

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Old 08-17-2010, 07:49 PM
 
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I'm not sure I have helpful advice, but I will tell you that probably all our children will have my last name. Just so you know that families do it all kinds of ways -- whatever you decide won't really be weird or abnormal. What with divorce and blended families and all kinds of things today, lots of kids don't have the same names as their siblings or parents. I don't think people really assume a child isn't yours if he/she has a different last name, it's just that they may not be certain (and you can't really be certain, anyway).

Whatever works out for your family will be OK! Good luck.
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Old 08-17-2010, 07:49 PM
 
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Your kids are part of the family. The "family" name is considered your DH's last name.
My name is a family name. Why should the hubby's name be the only one that matters? And what should same sex couples do?


My kids bear a mylastname hyphen hislastname. I get "credit" in the here and now for having birthed and raised them.
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Old 08-17-2010, 08:10 PM
 
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That sucks that your state doesn't recognize hyphenated names. Makes it harder. Either way, whatever your DH and you decide what is best. Don't worry about what his family thinks. They already don't like you so who cares now. Lol. What a hard decision!

philomom- I'm not answering your question here. I do not want this thread to take on a different life so to speak. You are justified keeping your last name. I wasn't saying that.

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Old 08-17-2010, 08:30 PM
 
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I also have a hyphenated last name that is my maiden name and my husband's last name. I kept my maiden name because it is very unique (Hungarian) and my husband's is kind of plain.

I actually use his professionally, because it's so much easier than trying to get people to spell and pronounce my full last name correctly.

Our daughter has his last name, and so will the new baby.
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Old 08-17-2010, 08:44 PM
 
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That doesn't seem fair for your kids to carry the surname of man you don't like. Can you hyphenate and put your name first?
Well, it's not that I totally dislike him. He is well intentioned, but an alcoholic who sometimes appears to have the emotional maturity of a teenage boy. But he is a good person at heart. That said, I try to remind myself that it is DH's last name too, and I love DH with everything I have...

I don't mind hyphenating, DH isn't sure because he feels the names would be long and unwieldy. It's still up in the air.

ETA--I do totally agree with what you said above about names from each side having equal merit, and getting the credit for having birthed/raised. It is tough, because I am proud of my last name and one of all girls. DH is one of all boys, but at this point it seems likely he is the only one to procreate...I am going to seriously think about hyphenation/try to talk him into it.

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Old 08-17-2010, 09:43 PM
 
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I would also try to make a new hyphenated name out of part of your surname and your husbands surname. This way it would be clear that you are all connected. If either of you is with the kids at the hospital, for instance, your name, let's say Smith-White, would make sense with theirs, Smith-Jennings. Similarly for your husband, His name Jennings would make sense with theirs, Smith-Jennings.

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Old 08-17-2010, 10:13 PM
 
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My aunt kept her professional name for work, but changed her last name for family and everything else.
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Old 08-17-2010, 10:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sigh. So which name do I choose? My mother's given name or my father's given name? As a total aside I don't use the term "maiden" name because I didn't change my name when I dtd for the first time!

I guess I just can't picture the conversation in which I say to either of my beloved parents, "I decided your name didn't mean as much." To me, having a hyphenated last name makes so much sense. I'm half and half my Mom and Dad. Sigh.

I really wish we had a family name that was neither all me nor all my dh. We tried different permutations of our names together but they all just seemed ridiculous. Dh of course wasn't sold on this idea from the beginning. I think unlike being a woman where there is an attempted cultural conditioning that our last name "doesn't mean anything" and thus can easily be dropped in favor of the man's last name, most men don't even consider that marrying could mean changing their name.

Children just complicate everything don't they!?

I just did an internet search about double hyphenated last names and couldn't find any information...

simplehome I just reread your post. Huh. Maybe I misunderstood. Are you suggesting giving the kids a combined hyphenated last name? Again, how would I choose which to pass on (actually, I would choose the first of my two names because I'm the last person in the family with the name...Grampa had one son who only had daughters...) Huh. That might work.

I'll run it by DH. Hmmm....

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Old 08-17-2010, 10:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My aunt kept her professional name for work, but changed her last name for family and everything else.
Yeah, this is what I tried to do at first but since 9/11 their are more restrictions on this. For instance I can't have a driver's license with one name with a SS# with another. Nor can I have a bank account with a name different than what's on my DL. Further I cannot change the name associated with my SS# without also changing all my professional numbers.

I also tried to pursue a "legally known as" which I believe is what movies stars and other people with public and private persona have but I couldn't find any information other than that these aren't done anymore. For instance the bank was familiar with the term but didn't think that they were legal anymore.

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Old 08-17-2010, 10:45 PM
 
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DH and I have different last names too. The tradition in his country is that each child has 4 names, first name, middle name, then dad's last name (first of his two last names, since all have 2 last names) then mom's last name (first of her two). People pretty much go by their first last name (the father's) in that country.

We gave DS this name
(first name) (DH's last name) (my last name)

This means we are foregoing a middle name, but have his last name and mine in there. Here, he basically goes by my last name; there, they would use DH's last name.

I have to say, I LOVE that he has my last name! I have not run across any strange looks or anything from him having a different name (as perceived here in the U.S.) from my husband. I think it is more important that YOU have the last name as your children than that DH does. Why does that imply that you would have to change your name? Why can't you give them your last name? Use DH's too, and you'd have both names there, but yours is last. If you wanted, you could even add in a fourth name (though with the hyphen that does sound like a lot). It really makes it easier to not have to worry about choosing a middle name

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Old 08-18-2010, 12:18 AM
 
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DH and I have different last names too. The tradition in his country is that each child has 4 names, first name, middle name, then dad's last name (first of his two last names, since all have 2 last names) then mom's last name (first of her two). People pretty much go by their first last name (the father's) in that country.

We gave DS this name
(first name) (DH's last name) (my last name)
This is what we did as well. I have two last names, as is the custom in my country, so we gave my first last name (paternal) to my son. I do want to clarify that neither last name is a middle name, both are last names.

I've had to clarify the issue for myself and for my DS a few times, but it's worth it.

Good luck!
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Old 08-18-2010, 01:27 AM
 
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Thanks for the suggestions so far. I think if I had a relationship that wasn't so strained and awful with his family I wouldn't have such a visceral reaction to naming our kids that. I do not consider myself as part of dh's extended family and I'm not treated as if I am. Dh and I are our own family. When we file our taxes it is under *my* name. So, I sort of disagree about what our "family" name is...plus sometimes patriarchy just rubs me the wrong way. Sometimes it doesn't. Eh.
You could try not to think about his last name as "his family's" last name. Your children certainly won't think of it that way--they'll think of it as their dad's last name. It's him, not them, that you love and honor in your children's names.

In your situation, I would choose one of your last names and your dh's last name and hyphenate it. That's equitable, balanced, and seems like a great compromise.

I live in a city where a lot of families have different last names (wives, husbands, kids if they're hyphenated)...it's just not a big deal. I chose to keep my maiden name, dh kept his, and we chose to give all our kids his last name. Like you, I have a rocky/unpleasant relationship with his family. It blows my mind that my kids are 1/4 my MIL...or that dh is 1/2 my MIL! But still, his last name is dear because of all the wonderful things he is. I'm happy the kids can share in that.

We chose to keep all the names of all our kids the same (last names, that is). We also considered the boy/girl division, but decided against it because we wanted them to share a family name. We would have considered a combined or hyphenated name, but adding my name to his makes it sound like a phrase. No-go on that one!

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Old 08-18-2010, 02:08 AM
 
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I suggest that you give the child your husband's last name and keep your own. You may decide to change your last name eventually. In a few years, you may not need to keep your last name for your job. Since your husband seems to want the child to have his last name, and the state doesnt reconize hyphenated names, I feel like 2 people in the family ( DH and new baby) having the same last names is better than no one having the same last name.

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Old 08-18-2010, 02:22 AM
 
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I would personally give all the children his name. End of story. You don't need to change yours. Nowadays it's common enough that a parent doesn't share a last name with her children that it wouldn't be a problem. If you really want to have the same last name as your kids, you could change yours. Just make a huge deal out of it with everyone in your field. JMHO.

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Old 08-18-2010, 02:59 AM
 
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Hm, my perspective is a little different. I was raised by my mom. I had my father's last name and she took back her maiden name when they divorced. My mother then took in my two (unrelated) foster sisters. All four of us have completely different last names. And to top it off none of us (not even my biological mom and I) look alike.

As a kid I remember so badly wanting to be the "Smith" family (or whatever). It sounds weird, but calling someone's house and getting the "you've reached the Johnson's and we're not home" message always made me feel a little sad. I wanted there to be something tangible to identify the four of us as a family. And yes, I know a family is WAY more than a name. But as a kid being recognized as a family unit without all the questions and explanations would have been nice. I can't tell you how many times I had to correct people when they referred to my mother using my last name or didn't believe my sisters were my sisters because of our last names.

When my DH and I were engaged I knew I would take his last name. I wanted that outward sign of having a family unit. The funny thing is I don't think my married last name is particularly unique or beautiful or even goes with my first name all that well but I love it because it is our family name. In some ways I liken it to going to camp and choosing your cabin name. You spend the whole week be referred to as the "frolicking dolphin" cabin and it's kind of cool. It makes you feel a little bit closer to the people in the cabin and everyone else treats you as a unit. I don't know, I just dig something about that.

That being said I haven't a clue what would be best for your family. But I do agree with the PP that said not to think about his last name as his family's last name but as his alone. Good Luck!

lather, rinse, repeat
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