(140 Posts)
Rollermum Sun 28-Jul-13 13:41:05

Hey all

The post below about joint accounts, and a batch of particularly annoying post got me thinking about surnames and my baby (due 6th Sep).

I am married and haven't changed my name. My title is Dr and before that was Ms. I registered our move w various utilities and got post to us both w DH name first (as in the joint accounts thread). Same post brought some lovely cards from family members but all calling me variously wrong names: Mrs DHSurname, Miss MySurname etc.

I had been planning that the baby will have our joint surnames (diuble barrelled) whilst we both just keep our own names. But lately I've been thinking this will complicate the name situation in our house even more. I can envisage years of bday cards from well meaning relatives with just my husband's surname.

Any thoughts on how to deal with this? I have never wanted to change my name but lately I've just been fed up of it. I'd like us to feel like a family unit. My sister didn't change her name and is constantly correcting people that they are married. Also I just can't imagine my child not having my name (at least in part).

Finally I'd happily double barrel but DH isn't prepared to do the same - so I won't either!

I guess my name feeling vague is ok but want the baby to have a clearer one!

TheDoctrineOfAllan Mon 29-Jul-13 00:59:41

But you loved your previous surname, sonly.

Goooooooooooooooooooooood Mon 29-Jul-13 01:17:32

I always thought I would have kept my surname but have ended up taking my DHs. It is just so so much easier. His Dad was not someone who we would want to 'honour' but neither was my Dad. DH didn't have any strong feelings and neither did I so we just ended up doing what was most conventional and 'normal' .

It makes your family easy to understand for everyone else if you have the same name.

We lived for a long while in Quebec where women keep their maiden name (whether they like it or not) and everyone survives just fine!

I am not a huge fan of double barralled names.

I don't think it's a biggie whatever you do though. It is just a name. I don't think it has to be a huge symbolic statement.

5madthings Mon 29-Jul-13 01:25:48

Dp and i are not married. The madthings have a double barred surname. So my surname-dps surname. Its fine. didnt like it and for ages sent post to childs name dps surname, but as soon as the kids were okd enough they complained themselves and she soon stopped dropping my part of the surname.

Its not been an issue at schooletc. I had one gp make a comment about it and about how children should rake their fathers name! And i told they have the name we chose to give them and i didnt want to blindly follow some archaic social tradition routed in patriachy and mysogony thanks very much.

twentypercent Mon 29-Jul-13 01:41:22

I raised my son as a single parent (was single when I was pg and I was unmarried so DS had my name) but I'm married to a new partner now. I didn't change my name as it would have been complicated and unfair to change DS's name (he's a teenager now) and I didn't want to have a different surname to him. One thing to bear in mind is that whatever you choose for your child's surname now, it will almost certainly stay that way, as it's quite hard to change a child's surname even after divorce. So if you ended up splitting from your DH (however unlikely it seems now!), they'd always keep his name as part of a double-barrelled name if that's what you decide now. Lots of lone parents are surprised when they realise that they don't have the right to change their child's surname, and having different names to them can be complicated in situations like going abroad etc, plus it can be an unpleasant reminder if the ex was abusive. Personally I'm very glad that DS has the same surname as me, even though it was more out of circumstance than a conscious choice at the time.

Lottapianos Mon 29-Jul-13 14:22:30

Exactly what DonDrapers said. If you take on your husband's surname and give up yours (and it is yours, no matter who else you may share it with), you are telling yourself and everyone else that his name is more important than yours. Maybe you're ok with that, but at least be honest about what it means and what message it sends.

GibberTheMonkey Mon 29-Jul-13 14:34:49

Or Lotta
It says that my born surname was a bit different and I always had to say like the boys name (imagine it's Robert) to spell it as people assume it's a similar better known surname. Plus the years of being told I'm a boy, being teased for having a boys name etc as well means I was quite happy for my children not to have my name and to take my husbands more normal name which I never have to spell or be questioned about.

People who assume there is only one option are the ones who are wrong but just because someone chooses their husband's surname doesn't mean they consider it to be more important. They may have just chosen that option out of the four.

Lottapianos Mon 29-Jul-13 14:47:03

My own last name is a total PITA that hardly anyone can say or spell properly. I have a rubbish relationship with my parents and have no sentimental attachment to the name at all. I would be happy to lose it, but would never take DP's last name even though his is very cool and easy to say and spell!

Personally, I couldn't live with making that statement - one half of the couple ditching their last name and taking on the other person's sends a very strong message about whose name takes precendence.

specialsubject Tue 30-Jul-13 19:51:17

I still get birthday cards addressed to me using my husband's surname. Been married 20+ years. Some elderly rellies just never get it.

not worth worrying about. Smile and wave.

kickassangel Wed 31-Jul-13 01:14:45

Recently I've been wondering if we need surnames/family names at all. Why can't we just have 2 or 3 names we like?

After all, men no longer own women, so they don't need to label them any longer, last names aren't used all that often. There is some slight convenience to saying "we are the xxxx family" but beyond that, there is no practical function.

And living together, being a family together etc surely means more than any name a person could have?

Official forms could just be your full name, starting with the one at the beginning, so it would be easier to look up people as they would be listed by the name you actually use.

Treagues Wed 31-Jul-13 07:14:59

Totally agree, kickassangel.
You're right, there's no practical use at all. It would make genealogists pull out their hair, I suppose.
Perhaps we could all have a notional family name to connect us historically to our parents, but we needn't use it. Like a ghost name.
And then we choose a few good public names and use those officially.
(All possible anyway, as the law stands.)

arsenaltilidie Wed 31-Jul-13 10:14:27

* could all have a notional family name to connect us historically to our parents*
Isn't that a surname is anyway.

My wife's connection to our DCs is she carried them for 9 months and my connection is they have my Surname.

Why get married if the reason not to change a surname is because it represents misogyny.

Maggietess Wed 31-Jul-13 10:32:31

gibber I completely agree. As lots of people at the start of thus post pointed out there are 4/5 options for women (dare I say couples) to choose from. Noone should then make assumptions if the woman chooses to give up her surname. There wouldn't be the same comments that the man shouldn't give up his name if he chose to do so.

My choice may not be the same as the next persons but it will be exactly that - MY choice. And if others get it round I'm happy to correct them but I'll not lose sleep over it.

Btw I had planned to keep my surname, I was adamant about it... Right up until I was on honeymoon and someone called me Mrs oh and I thought, you know what, I'm happy with that too. And it does make it easier for the kids now too. But that's my opinion for my circumstances, I shouldn't be judged on that, nor would I judge anyone else for the decision they come to.

VianneFox Wed 31-Jul-13 10:47:41

We double barrelled on marriage, so our children have the same. Vast majority of women I know drop their surname though (apart from two, actually)

It very much is a feminist issue for me, but I accept to being in the minority with this!

TheDoctrineOfAllan Wed 31-Jul-13 13:08:26

Getting married provides legal protection to both sides that cohabiting does not would be one reason, arsenal.

Things change. Obey got dropped from the standard marriage service in the 1930s, I think, didn't stop marriage being marriage.

TheDoctrineOfAllan Wed 31-Jul-13 13:10:48

Maggie, I'm sure a man opting to change his name would get a lot of comments, more than a woman who kept or who changed.

ProudNeathGirl Wed 31-Jul-13 13:16:53

That's precisely why I changed my name when I got married!!!

I tried keeping my own surname for a while, for professional reasons, but used Mrs DHname when we were out and about together. It led to so much confusion, and I would turn up for (say) a hotel booking made in one name, with credit cards in another etc etc.

Tried going double barrelled (just me, not DH), but it made my name too long, and was just a pain in the arse. In the end it was far easier to change my name to DH's.

And that was before we had children.

As someone who deals with children and their parents (both parents) in the guise of Brownie Guider, I find it very confusing when family members all have different surname, and am always being corrected by one parent or another. It must get very tiring for them to have to go through this with every teacher, or club leader their child comes across.

I'm glad I made the decision to change my name, so that all our family could have the same surname. It's not a big thing IMO, it's just a name.

You could both double-barrel and use the d-b name socially but keep your original names for work -- that wouldn't be at all unusual.

In your case if the two names work together I would definitely d-b the children's names; we would have done that but one of our names is a noun and the other an adjective so they sounded deeply silly in combination. What I wish had happened is that my own parents had double-barrelled their names when naming us as my mother's original surname would work really well in combination with DH's. But my mother says regretfully that when she married she didn't realise that keeping her own name or double-barrelling was even an option.

If your only connection to your DCs is that they have your surname then that's a bit sad.

GrimmaTheNome Wed 31-Jul-13 13:26:01

>He understands for me to double barrel he would need to as well, but isn't sure about it. Partly because he is a journalist and his name is known.

What a lot of women do, if they have a name which is recognised in their profession (eg academics who want to remain cited under the same name) is to simply keep their existing name for professional purposes and then either take their DH's or double-barrel for everything else. I know quite a lot of Dr Oldname/Mrs Newname. Couldn't your DH do that?

eurochick Wed 31-Jul-13 13:26:58

arsenal do you really think marriage is all about sharing a surname? Rather than legal protections, public commitment to each other and shared lives? Curious.

GrimmaTheNome Wed 31-Jul-13 13:28:10

x-post with Tolliver - its normal for women (unless they actually want to take their DHs, as I did because I had an ugly name before) - it should become normal for men.

tribpot Wed 31-Jul-13 14:04:05

^ It must get very tiring for them to have to go through this with every teacher, or club leader their child comes across.^

Nope. It's fine.

Treagues Wed 31-Jul-13 14:28:59

Never had a problem having a different surname from my dc.
It isn't a problem unless people see it as an aberration. Most people can cope just fine. Perhaps they are particularly well organised? smile I think they are just normal though.

TheDoctrineOfAllan Wed 31-Jul-13 14:42:32

No, not tiring. And not that common either - surely enough parents are either unmarried or have different surnames if married that it's not really a thing?

TheDoctrineOfAllan Wed 31-Jul-13 14:44:16

I do agree it's easier to have one name for all than different personal and professional names for the reasons you suggest.

Boosterseat Wed 31-Jul-13 14:45:11

DS has my name not his Dads and I have since married my lovely DH

I was always going to keep my own name but DH has a gorgeous last name so i nicked it for the 2nd half

ME - Mrs Booster - Seat
DH Mr Seat
DS Master Booster

And as my maiden name could be used as a 1st name if we ever have another DS I want to call him Master Booster Seat

Just for a laugh grin

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