Surnames

(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!

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

No, it's never been an issue. But then nor has booking a hotel in one name and having credit cards in the other; the only time it's ever given any problem was with one hotel when we were on honeymoon, who had put everything in my name and couldn't cope with DH's signing the charge-something-to-your-room slips (but then another hotel on the same honeymoon had written their welcome pack letter in a "Mr and Mrs DHname" format and a Mr DHname and Ms Groat format and then just slipped the right one into the pack when we arrived and they knew which we preferred, I noticed using my outstanding reading-upside-down-skills).

TheDoctrineOfAllan Wed 31-Jul-13 14:48:14

Good on that hotel Tolliver.

GrimmaTheNome Wed 31-Jul-13 14:54:48

Surely teachers etc must be used to dealing with all sorts - including names from other countries which may be in the opposite order.

Treagues Wed 31-Jul-13 14:57:40

Most people can cope with much more than a 'omg these people are married but have different names!' scenario grin

I can never work out how my family people managed to remember our names before we got married, but now have trouble with exactly the same number of pieces of information.

Lottapianos Wed 31-Jul-13 14:58:55

I'm an SLT and I work with young children. I would say very few of my families all have one name and it has never been an issue. I use parents' first names when talking to them anyway but I make sure I have the correct surnames for both parents on record. It's never caused the slightest issue.

eurochick Wed 31-Jul-13 15:17:20

OP, I kept my name on marriage and we plan to do the same as you.

If people put the wrong names on cards, I gently remind them. It's no big deal. Certainly not worth giving up my own name for.

Thurlow Wed 31-Jul-13 15:18:58

I have my surname, DD has DP's surname. I wouldn't have changed my name even if we were married.

In terms of what surname to give DC, double-barrelling sounded absolutely awful, the names didn't blend in any way, and so as DP had slightly stronger views than me we went with his surname. It sounds better than my surname would with her first name anyway.

The way I look at it is that is is their name, their own individual name, with a surname chosen just as we chose their first and middle names. It just happens to be the same surname as one of her parents. I don't know if I've explained that properly! But it doesn't really matter to me that their name doesn't reflect my name in anyway, because it is their name.

FWIW, I've been referred to as Mrs DP/DCsurname a few times, and if it's not worth mentioning that isn't my name, I don't react. I don't really see what is to be gained from a public and pedantic argument with a doctors receptionist I am never going to see again who has innocently said "Can you just fill out this form, Mrs DCsurname?"

Lottapianos Wed 31-Jul-13 15:41:53

'Certainly not worth giving up my own name for'

Absolutely. Think about what you're giving up, just because it's more 'convenient'. Your name you have been known by your whole life - a huge part of your identity. The last name everyone knows you by. A mate of mine took her husband's last name (and boy is she regretting that decision now) but said to me 'oh well I'll always be a HerLastName at heart'. Well why the jeff are you changing it then?!

And to those who say it's just a name, how would you feel if someone started to call you Ermintrude Ermintraut just because they felt like it? Would you be cool with it because hey, it's just a name, you would still be the same person?! Names matter.

wherearemysocka Wed 31-Jul-13 15:43:01

When I look up a home phone number at school I always quickly check if the mother has the same surname as the child, it is all on our system. It's not difficult unless you want to make it difficult, just to make a point.

As people have said upthread, you didn't have any problem calling me that name before I got married, is there something confusing about...nothing changing at all?

Woodhead Wed 31-Jul-13 15:50:47

With various possible permutations of the options 1-4 given upthread; the only regrets I've heard are from women who kept their own name and picked option 1. The regrets seem to be most stated when the parents have later seperated and the mother has been the primary carer.

As the mother being primary carer post seperation is greatly more common than the father; I'd say 2-4 are the most sensible and logical choices.

SconeRhymesWithGone Wed 31-Jul-13 17:13:13

I am very honest about the fact that the main reason I kept my name was to make a feminist statement. The societal expectation that a woman will change her name is a vestige of the common law doctrine of coverture, whereby a woman's legal existence was entirely subsumed in her husband's when she married. I fully support women making their own choices in this regard, but for me that particular fact makes the symbolism pretty powerful.

TheDoctrineOfAllan Wed 31-Jul-13 17:17:27

Wood head, in the hospital babies are referred to by their mother's surnames - I'm not sure that this wasn't always the case it's just that mother took father's surname.

Ie the actual "default" is "child has mother's surname"

I don't know if that's right though.

eurochick Wed 31-Jul-13 17:17:43

I completely agree.

I am clear that I kept mine for a number of reasons (feminist but also because I'm an only and so is my dad so I am the last in the line, my SIL has the same first name so we would end up with identical names if I changed too). But it is absolutely a feminist statement. As was not wanting my dad to hand me to my husband on my wedding day.

Xiaoxiong Wed 31-Jul-13 17:28:04

I'm in the same boat with Scone and eurochick. Keeping my name was a feminist statement - the only acceptable alternative was us both changing, either hyphenating or a new name.

DS is Firstname MyName-HisName. Five syllables.

FIL and I no longer speak over this. Not so much about the fact that he didn't like it (which we were expecting) but the awful poisonous vitriolic misogyny directed towards me that he spewed while expressing the fact that he had a problem.

hotair Wed 31-Jul-13 17:28:13

me and my dh both changed are last name on marriage and I can tell you he got no end of comments and grief about it. It was very important to us both though- very much a feminist statement.

hotair Wed 31-Jul-13 17:32:09

our not are

rosy71 Wed 31-Jul-13 17:39:26

We are not married so have different names. The boys have dp's surname. It's never caused a problem and isn't uncommon. I think the idea of a double-barrelled name is really nice so I'd say do that if that's what you want. You could also use one of your surnames as a middle name, or have both but unhyphenated. I think you'll find it much easier than you imagine.

Shockingundercrackers Wed 31-Jul-13 17:57:07

I've got my own surname, DH has his. I'm not a fan of DBing myself (no offence) so gave my children DH's name for no other reason than I felt like it.

It has caused absolutely no problems whatsoever. We get cards addressed with random surname combos, but who cares? Nobody spells DH's name correctly anyway, so it's kind of fun guessing whs addressed the envelope!

Treagues Wed 31-Jul-13 17:58:41

Feminist statement here too. Also, it's more practical because nothing changes officially.
Even as a girl I saw no reason why I should change my name.

GibberTheMonkey Wed 31-Jul-13 18:20:34

Scone you are right about tradition being that children took mother's surname. It was just that for years the mothers surname did tend to be her husband's name

TheDoctrineOfAllan Wed 31-Jul-13 18:44:36

See, I wish I'd figured that out earlier and at least has the discussion about the DSes having my name.

OddSockBox Wed 31-Jul-13 19:20:41

The point I see in correcting people is that many people, on discovering I kept my name, quite honestly said they had no idea that was possible/allowed. I'd like everyone to know it is allowed and to make people see it is as an option and empower them.

badguider Wed 31-Jul-13 19:46:09

I run a guide unit of 10-14yr old girls in an area where over 90% of families have two parents living together and most are married.
I would say that at least 30% of the girls do not share a surname with their mothers (who write the cheques). It's become normal.

I kept my name on marriage, my dh hates double barrelling and offered for our son to have my name but instead I chose to give him mine as a middle name and dh's as a surname.

arsenaltilidie Wed 31-Jul-13 19:52:15

Euro 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

I'm not against anyone keeping their surname, but it's a bit silly to reason keeping your maiden name is a fight against misogyny when the whole idea of marriage is based on misogynist values.

TheDoctrineOfAllan Wed 31-Jul-13 20:03:07

Both parties keeping their names makes marriage more equal.

Just as dropping "obey" makes marriage more equal.

Is marriage perfect? No, which is why some are campaigning for civil partnerships for all. But until that's enacted, the way to get the most legal protection is through marriage.

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