using both parents' last names - Mothering Forums
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Parenting > using both parents' last names
VeryLovingMama's Avatar VeryLovingMama 12:24 PM 12-16-2012

Hi, not sure exactly where to post this, but wondering if anyone has thoughts/advice for me.....my hubby and i have different last names  (I don't plan on ever changing my name).  When my babe was born last year I conceded to giving his papa's last name.  Lately I'm regretting that, feeling like I really want my last name to be a part of my son's identity.  Right now his second middle name is my last name (Watson) but I'd like to officially change it to be part of his last name, while he's still too young to notice a change.  Anyone out there been through this (either as a parent or child?)  (btw, both of our names start with W and are 2 syllables, if that makes a difference.)

 

thanks.....



pek64's Avatar pek64 02:39 PM 12-16-2012
I never changed my name, and we hyphenated our last names for our son. My last name was put first, and that is the name used in some places (pediatricians' office, for example). I've been told that if he wants to drop one of the names, he'd better do it before 18, because it is easier to change the name of a minor. My son doesn't want to keep using both names.

What I'm saying is your child may have different preferences when older.

Whatever your decision, I wish you happiness.
LLQ1011's Avatar LLQ1011 02:44 PM 12-16-2012

I have two last names and it is so annoying. My name is 27 letters long. it does not fit on forms, and has cause confusion throughout my life in school, work, and so on. Leave ti the way it is. Your name is still part of his name, just leave it as a middle name. My BF does this with all of her kids. They all have the same middle name which is her last name.
 


LittleBlackBug's Avatar LittleBlackBug 04:10 PM 12-16-2012
DH and I negotiated before having kids. I wanted to pass my last name on and so did he. We agreed to give boys his last name and girls mine. We will be adopting to even out the genders.
ananas's Avatar ananas 04:29 PM 12-16-2012
We had to consider this before DD was born. SO and I aren't married, so we have different last names. In the end we decided to give her his last name with mine as a second middle name. We thought about hyphenating but I read up on it a lot, including a lot from people with hyphenated names, and most seemed to really hate having a hyphenated name because of all of the problems and challenges it presented.
philomom's Avatar philomom 05:22 PM 12-16-2012
I kept my name and let the dh keep his. Our children bear a hyphenated name. I don't have any illusions that they will keep the unwieldy name forever but in the here and now, I get part "credit" for being their primary parent all these years. My kids both talk about re-adopting short surnames from the greater family tree... that's fine by me. Once you pay your own way, you can change your name to whatever you like.
greenemami's Avatar greenemami 07:01 PM 12-16-2012

We have different last names and ended up giving the kids his last name.  I am okay with it, though sometimes I wish I had added mine-my last name is much more unusual and has a pretty strong meaning for me.  Part of it is that my stepdaughter also has just dp's last name and I wanted all the kids to have the same name, but I also just didn't want them to have to "pick" a name later. 

 

I also know people who have hyphenated the last names and everyone seems fine about that too :)


VeryLovingMama's Avatar VeryLovingMama 07:56 PM 12-16-2012

Thanks all for your replies.  I feel relief to hear others who have done it, but also appreciate hearing from someone who had 2 last names and hated it.   Hmmm....would love to hear from more people who actually had to live with 2 last names.  Also, has anyone ever had any issues while traveling with a child who doesn't have the same last name as you?  That's one of my bigger concerns. 


VisionaryMom's Avatar VisionaryMom 08:27 PM 12-16-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by philomom View Post

I kept my name and let the dh keep his. Our children bear a hyphenated name. I don't have any illusions that they will keep the unwieldy name forever but in the here and now, I get part "credit" for being their primary parent all these years. My kids both talk about re-adopting short surnames from the greater family tree... that's fine by me. Once you pay your own way, you can change your name to whatever you like.

That is very much how we've approached it. I've told the kids that they're free to do whatever they want when they're adults. We won't be angry or hurt regardless of what they decide, but we made the decision based on the here and now. Our area has a large number of multiple last name kids because we have lots of progressive parents who don't change their own names and Hispanic families who use non-US naming conventions. DS is one of 4 kids in his class with hyphenated names; DD is one of 5. With that many people who have hyphenated names, I feel like it's less of an issue for our kids, but I understand that it's a bit cumbersome for them.


nextcommercial's Avatar nextcommercial 09:25 PM 12-16-2012

I have two friends who did the Two last names thing.  In both cases, the father is not involved anymore...the mom remarried, and now has a different last name, but the kids have this double last name, no father and a Step dad with a different name.

 

It's confusing sometimes because sending Christmas cards is a mind bender.  "The Davis/Garrfeildwebber family".???  <---seriously..I'm asking.. how do I address the cards?  

 

I think combining names is a beautiful idea if the names mesh pretty well, and, if you know the Dad will still be there in five or ten years.  

 

I named my daughter after me only.  But, it was because her dad and I weren't married, and I just felt like he would not be in our lives a few years later....but, mostly because his last name is pretty awful, and would have set my daughter up for a lifetime of teasing...which is doable when Dad is in the picture, but when mom's last name, all the cousin's last name and grandparent's last name is a typical ordinary last name.   (btw, it never worked out for he and I, but he's never left our daughter...I'm very pleased with how that worked out)


blessedwithboys's Avatar blessedwithboys 09:26 PM 12-16-2012

My exdh left us when I was pg with ds and I knew that after we got divorced I'd go back to my maiden name so I planned on naming him Firstname Middlename Mylastname-Exdh'slastname. I had an older son when I married exdh and he had my maiden name. I didn't want ds2 to be the only one with a different name, but I didn't want to be a total biatch and refuse to let him use ex's name. Honestly, it's unwieldy and most often, ds just uses his dad's name, like when heading school papers. On official stuff, the last letter of the compound name is always cut off. Strangely, ds is proud to have two last names.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by LittleBlackBug View Post

DH and I negotiated before having kids. I wanted to pass my last name on and so did he. We agreed to give boys his last name and girls mine. We will be adopting to even out the genders.

I hope you don't mean that last part the way it sounds...


greenemami's Avatar greenemami 10:52 PM 12-16-2012

I have never had any problems with my kids having a different last name, travelling or otherwise (like the doctor, etc.) It can be annoying, in terms of having to specify my last name versus the kids, but it has never been a big deal and is increasingly common. 


ollyoxenfree's Avatar ollyoxenfree 09:33 AM 12-17-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by VeryLovingMama View Post

 Also, has anyone ever had any issues while traveling with a child who doesn't have the same last name as you?  That's one of my bigger concerns. 

 

Never. Not even when crossing international borders. Nor have we had issues at schools, summer camps, doctors' offices, hospitals or anywhere else where you might anticipate that paperwork or bureaucracy would make it an issue. 

 

Having said that, I've always been prepared to deal with questions if they arise, by having the appropriate back-up paperwork. 


LeighPF's Avatar LeighPF 01:11 PM 12-18-2012

Traveling internationally, what ever the names, you would need a letter from the other parent (or proof that you don't need one). They fudge it for big kids who can say that the other parent knows they are traveling, but with my littles, we always do it.

 

DH's parents took eachothers names with a hyphen in the early eighties when they married, so DH has a hyphenated name, and I took it when I married him (which now I get to explain that neigth is my original make). Pain on the forms because of all the letters and the few old computer systems that don't recognize a hyphen. DH's brother dropped the second part of the name when he married. If I had a choice, I would have dropped the other part.

 

I dated a guy in high school that had a double last name with no hyphen and it was even harder to get it right on the forms.


tbone_kneegrabber's Avatar tbone_kneegrabber 05:09 PM 12-18-2012
We hyphenated ds's last name. I was NOT willing to do only dp's name, we wanted a totally new last name but our names did not mesh together well to form a new name and we didn't come up with an alternative before ds was born. Ds likes that he shares a name with each of us, I think even more than if we all had the same name because he gets to have a special thing with each of us.
tbone_kneegrabber's Avatar tbone_kneegrabber 05:12 PM 12-18-2012
Also I always say on the phone or whenever giving ds's name that it hyphenated before I begin
"What is the last name?"
"It is a hyphenated. It is firstlastname-secondlastname"

Granted I have a"harder" Italian last name and dp has a much more English/common last name so I was already used to name being spelled wrong mispronounced before ds was born.
Peony's Avatar Peony 10:02 PM 12-18-2012

I actually changed my older two's last names to include mine, they originally just had Dh's last name. I choose double last names no hyphen, but I add in a hyphen for all forms otherwise I've discovered that places get confused and end up dropping a name. My reasoning for legally choosing no hyphen was that I thought it would be easier as they got older if they wanted to just go by one last name for everyday life. Not sure if my thinking was flawed there! It has made for long names for my kids, but so far, my oldest is in 4th grade only, they like having both mom and dad's names. 


rubidoux's Avatar rubidoux 08:07 PM 12-21-2012

My kids' names are hyphenated, mylastname-dad'slastname.  I kind of wish that we had just put the two names together with no space or hyphen or anything.  It's only nine letters long all together and four syllables.  Since we didn't, though, best case scenario is that they drop dh's last name some day because mine is much more interesting.  It means "peace" in Swahili and Arabic, and it sounds nice, and sounds nice with their names.  His is not Jones, but is pretty darned close in terms of how exciting it is.  I have never told him that I hope this, though.  orngtongue.gif  He's not that attached to his last name anyway.  We used it because his dad said that it was really important to him and we love his dad...  But until he chimed in the plan was to give them a completely different last name.


moderatemom's Avatar moderatemom 10:27 AM 12-22-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleBlackBug View Post

DH and I negotiated before having kids. I wanted to pass my last name on and so did he. We agreed to give boys his last name and girls mine. We will be adopting to even out the genders.


Holy cow...I hope you have better reasons that that to adopt children!  yikes.gif


MichelleZB's Avatar MichelleZB 03:32 PM 12-26-2012

I just want to chime in to say that both my parents kept their names, and I have a hyphenated last name: Momslast-Dadslast. My name is pretty long, and somewhat hard to spell. I just really wanted to say that I have never suffered the slightest inconvenience from it. I rather like having a unique last name, and for people who had trouble with it, I just spelled it out slower and we all survived.

 

When I married, I kept my hyphenated last name because I think it is cool.

 

There's nothing wrong with hyphenated last names! Go for it.


Peony's Avatar Peony 04:15 PM 12-26-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by rubidoux View Post

 Since we didn't, though, best case scenario is that they drop dh's last name some day because mine is much more interesting.  It means "peace" in Swahili and Arabic, and it sounds nice, and sounds nice with their names.  His is not Jones, but is pretty darned close in terms of how exciting it is.  I have never told him that I hope this, though.  orngtongue.gif  He's not that attached to his last name anyway.  We used it because his dad said that it was really important to him and we love his dad...  But until he chimed in the plan was to give them a completely different last name.

 

LOL, they is my secret hope as well. My last name is unique, very few of us, and I am the last in my particular family branch that kept it. That is what happens when most of the babies were girls for generations and they all changed their names. Dh's last name is a four letter rather common name. To add to it, we have zero contact with any person in his family but my family all lives within a 30 mile range. I do hope at least one child decides to keep my name, but I won't put that pressure on them so I've never mentioned it. 


McGucks's Avatar McGucks 04:27 PM 12-26-2012

I have a hyphenated last name.  When I divorced, I took a cherished family name as my last (as opposed to my "maiden" name).  When I remarried, to my in-law's continued disapproval, I hyphenated.  My pregnancy with DH was very rocky and I honestly didn't know whether the marriage would last (after a lot of work, we seem to be okay)...but one of my sticking points (especially since my in-law's had a big, big hope we could continue a family tradition of a middle & last name that DH has (which I thought was really pushing it, but I understand why they wanted it) was that our child have a hyphenated last name (otherwise I could've settled on my last name as a middle).

 

My older son has a hyphenated last name (family name + his dad's last name).  He doesn't like it just because it's a hassle, but I've told him he can change it once he's 18 & he says he won't...it's not that big of a deal to him...he just finds it a pain to fill out forms and sometimes names get mixed up, like at the pharmacy (for me, not him :)

 

There is no perfect answer.

 

To add to the mix, we ended up changing our son's first name also.  We always had a nickname for him at home & decided when he was still quite young to legally change it.  It fit him better and we've NEVER regretted it.  We didn't tell anybody 'til the ink was dry, either.


McGucks's Avatar McGucks 04:37 PM 12-26-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by nextcommercial View Post

 

It's confusing sometimes because sending Christmas cards is a mind bender.  "The Davis/Garrfeildwebber family".???  <---seriously..I'm asking.. how do I address the cards?  

 

I came up with my own weirdo solution for our return addresses...I omit all of our last names completely.  So it might read (pseudonyms):

 

John, Ellie, Marco, and Polo

6 Main Street

 

Or whatever.  You can do the same when you address an envelope.  Or you can write everybody's full names.  People can and will be offended sometimes whichever way you go.

 

You can also ask the intended family for their preference.

 

I got very irritated for a couple years with MIL, who refused to acknowledge our little guy's hyphenated last name.  Mostly I let it go.  It makes me feel better when she orders him a kid magazine (which arrives addressed only to his first name and the part of his last name that they share) or whatever to call the company and have them correct it, and it will be an increasing issue when he learns to read.  We will cross that bridge when we come to it.

 

Additionally, as a PP said, I typically preface explaining my last name (if I am on the phone with a doctor or whomever) by saying "I [or my sons] have a hyphenated last name...[give a couple second's for processing time], which is Smith-Jones." 

 


rubidoux's Avatar rubidoux 08:42 PM 12-26-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by McGucks View Post

I got very irritated for a couple years with MIL, who refused to acknowledge our little guy's hyphenated last name.  Mostly I let it go.  It makes me feel better when she orders him a kid magazine (which arrives addressed only to his first name and the part of his last name that they share) or whatever to call the company and have them correct it, and it will be an increasing issue when he learns to read.  We will cross that bridge when we come to it.

 

 

Oh man!  My FIL (who I mostly adore) always always always spells Augie's name wrong (2 g's) and leaves out my last name.  Drives me crazy!  But to tell the truth, I don't know that dh ever told him exactly what our kids' names are.  I'm sure he's seen the first name spelled out a bunch of times in emails, though.  


limabean's Avatar limabean 08:23 AM 12-27-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichelleZB View Post

I just want to chime in to say that both my parents kept their names, and I have a hyphenated last name: Momslast-Dadslast. My name is pretty long, and somewhat hard to spell. I just really wanted to say that I have never suffered the slightest inconvenience from it. I rather like having a unique last name, and for people who had trouble with it, I just spelled it out slower and we all survived.

When I married, I kept my hyphenated last name because I think it is cool.

There's nothing wrong with hyphenated last names! Go for it.

What last name do your kids have? In these scenarios my mind always goes to imagining two people with hyphenated names getting married, both keeping their names, and both insisting on passing their names along to the baby, resulting in the baby being named John William Smith-Jones-Wilson-Reed. wink1.gif
McGucks's Avatar McGucks 09:23 AM 12-27-2012

I have told my DS1 (hyphenated) that when he turns 18, he can change his last name to either of the last names or whatever he likes, and that if/when he gets married or commits to someone, they certainly have my blessing (not that they need it) to do whatever they like in the last name department.


IrishWristwatch's Avatar IrishWristwatch 05:22 PM 12-28-2012

Mine have hyphenated names as well. Mine comes first, as it does in my name (I hyphenated as well). They don't mind and proudly say their full name.

 

If at some point they want to drop one name, that's fine. I'll even help them do it. But for now I'm happy that they have both of our names.

 

IF we were to choose one name, Dh and I agree the kids should ahve my name. It's my family they know best and associate with; it's me who does most of the raising and parenting, by the nature of Dh's work he's just not around a lot. Not that they don't love their dad, but he's just not around much. I am. My family is. This is the name they know and are growing up with.


Neuromancer's Avatar Neuromancer 01:13 PM 12-29-2012
Our first child has my last name as a second (and seldom used) middle name and my husband's last name as his last name. This was a compromise. I wanted him to have my last name, but there is no other baby to carry on the "family name" for my husband's family, and there are several babies in my family line to carry on that name.

But it's been agreed that if we have a second child (regardless of gender) that baby will have my last name. Since my husband and I have different last names, it's clearly not important to us that everyone in the family has the same last name, so we are fine with kids having different last names.
pek64's Avatar pek64 03:52 PM 12-29-2012
Heads up for those whose children might be dropping one name from a hyphenated name!!

I was told that it's easier to change the child's name before either 18 or 21, not sure which. This is in the US. So, look into the laws. I have to, because I know my son wants to drop his father's name.
philomom's Avatar philomom 06:49 PM 12-29-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

Heads up for those whose children might be dropping one name from a hyphenated name!!
I was told that it's easier to change the child's name before either 18 or 21, not sure which. This is in the US. So, look into the laws. I have to, because I know my son wants to drop his father's name.

It's easy to change your name in the states as an adult. I've had a friend go to court and do it twice.
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