Sharing a name with my son

(32 Posts)
gertrudestein Sun 01-Sep-13 19:08:10

My partner and I have been together for 11 yrs and have an 8 wk old ds. Dp and I are both feminists, and we're not married - for loads of reasons, including having some problems with the institution of marriage and its history of ownership/ property etc. At one point we considered it, and inasmuch as I ever thought about it, I knew I would never change my name even if we did get married - I use it professionally, I like it, and I don't want to become mrs someone else.

When I was pregnant I decided I wanted our son to have DP's surname, with my surname as a middle name. Again, lots of reasons including the fact that I think my dp is amazing a d wanted our child to share his name. Dp was surprised as he assumed our kids would take my name, but he was happy to go with it.

The only thing is ... Now I feel quite sad that I don't have the same surname as my son. It just feels odd. I'm considering changing my name by deed poll - but is this mad? Is it just hormones? I can't help feeling like our unity as a family is somehow undermined. I'm confused by these irrational thoughts - can anyone help me think it through?

gertrudestein could you all share a double-barrelled name for family stuff and keep your main name (your name) for work?

My own feeling about names was that my 'maiden' name was not in any way a family line name, it was my dad and mum's name but not my mum's 'maiden' name and it was not my dad's mum's 'maiden' name! So it might be thought of that by keeping my own name or taking my husbands name just part of someone's male line.

Also, if I am honest my name was a horrible one and my hubby's family name was nicer so I was happy to take it! I know some won't want to do that which is fine, of course.

I do think having the same name as my daughter is a help, especially at school and for holidays etc.

If I were you I would not want to lose the name you love but I would talk to DP and see what you can come up with that works for you all.

All the best and congratulations on your lovely new arrival.

Lio Mon 02-Sep-13 16:20:14

Just so you know you're not going mad: my children are now 9 and 7 and I still wish I'd thought a bit harder about whose surname to give them. dd sometimes says she wants the same surname as me and I wonder if she'll change it when she's old enough to make that decision. dh is also very nice, by the way smile

nocarsgo Mon 02-Sep-13 18:58:32

I did the same as you: kept my surname and gave DD my surname as a middle name (I dislike double barrelling, personally).

But it actually doesn't bother me that she has a different surname to me. Not yet anyway, but she's not quite 2. I may feel different when she starts school and teachers will assume she and I have the same surname. It'll piss me off, having to change my name after all, because people have given me a hard time and I really dislike my FIL.

Sorry, not much help there!

gertrudestein Mon 02-Sep-13 19:06:57

Thank you both. I agree that your father's name is not really yours anymore than your partner's name is (and you only choose one of those people!) .. I've never judged other people for changing their name (or getting married) its just not for us. ...

I think I always used to think of dp and I as two individuals who had chosen to live our lives with each other. but I had no idea how connected I would feel to my son. I think pregnancy and motherhood have really challenged my idea of myself - not necessarily negatively, it's just that I'm beginning to realise how much of my approach to life was based on the idea that I'm an independent, self determining individual. And I don't feel like that anymore.

motherinferior Mon 02-Sep-13 19:08:52

Give him yours too.

Fond though I am of my partner, I really don't see why my children should have his father's surname alone.

phoolani Mon 02-Sep-13 21:36:58

How about asking dp if he'd like to change his name to yours? And change the baby's at the same time obvs.

Liara Mon 02-Sep-13 21:43:57

Dh and I had separate names for 15 years before dc came along. When I was pg, we decided to blend our names, change both our names by deed poll to the new name and give that to the dc.

Dealt with all our objections to the sillyness of perpetuating only the father's line (with the caveat that both our names were obviously our fathers') and has the added bonus that the new name is ours and no-one else's - which silly though it might be, feels really special.

Yama Mon 02-Sep-13 21:45:33

Our dd has my name and our ds has dh's name. Pretty fair.

I do feel a wee bit sad though that ds doesn't have my name. He's 3 and I suppose I just think of him as his first name most of the time.

Dd is beyond proud that she has my family name. Feels nice.

Dd and ds are very close by the way (mnr's have suggested that they wouldn't be close due to having different names)

I'm rambling. My point is - give your next child (if you have one) your name.

alarkthatcouldpray Mon 02-Sep-13 21:51:31

It's tricky, isn't it?

This is why I changed my name on marriage even though I consider myself a feminist. I am passionate about the family unit and that outweighed any misgivings about losing my identity/giving myself to my husband etc. It was a risk though, as I didn't know at that point whether we would be able to have DCs. But I knew if we did, I wanted us all to have the same surname.

NiceTabard Mon 02-Sep-13 22:04:48

Ah well this is the tricky thing isn't it.

I have been a feminist since my teens. I never really thought about marriage grin and what would happen but when I met DH I knew we would have children and I had a think.

He already had a double-barrelled name.
I didn't want to have a different surname to my children.
He is a bog-standard sort of bloke, lovely and kind and supportive but not any kind of radical thinker or one who bucks the system.

So asking him to change to my name was out. The society we live in, that would be a massive statement for him, his family might take it as rejection, I didn't even mention it.

I couldn't combine my name as well as that would be silly and TBH I have always disliked double-barrelled names anyway (don't kill me!) and putting a third in would be ludicrous. Dropping one of his would obviously cause huge upset on his side.

My original name was my dad's anyway.

So, heh, feminist since young just changed names on marriage. I didn't care that much - it was maybe a point of principle rather than something I felt inside as a problem - so I did it.

Personally I don't understand how it is a feminist act to have children with a different name to you. There are people in my family who have done that, and friends, and they get called up by the school and called "Mrs Child Surname" when that is not their name they are "Ms Original Name" and it really gets on their nerves.

I don't know. I am happy with my decision. I think it depends how important the name is to you, how important it is to share a name with your children, whether your DH would be prepared to change and that sort of thing. If you do change your name I don't think you are "letting the side down" but then I would say that grin

scallopsrgreat Mon 02-Sep-13 22:11:48

I didn't change my name on marriage and my children have their father's surname. I wish I'd put my foot down a bit more about my 2nd son and he had my name, from a feminist perspective. But I don't want to change my surname to match theirs, more I want their surnames to change to match mine grin

meditrina Mon 02-Sep-13 22:24:57

I didn't change my name on marriage. The DCs have their father's surname. I don't feel a lesser part of the family because my name doesn't match.

OP: how old is DS? I note you say you're wondering if it's hormones - so is he still very small? If so I suggest you wait a bit to see if your views remain or become more firmly entrenched or, as you move from the chaos of the early days, your earlier reasoning reasserts itself.

I don't think which choice you make matters as much as the basic underpinning point that you are able to make it.

rosy71 Mon 02-Sep-13 22:32:22

I have 2 boys who both have their father's surname. I have gone through various stages of not liking this and not being bothered. When I was pg with ds1, I always thought dp and I would get married at some stage. Although I'm not a fan of name changing, I thought I'd double barrel and have both so it didn't matter that ds1 would have dp's name. Ds1 is 8.5 now and we are still not married! When ds2 was born, I suggested giving him my surname as a middle name but dp said it'd be strange because ds1 didn't have it too so I gave him my grandad's name as a middle name instead. I do still wish they'd got my name in there somewhere, but it doesn't particularly bother me now. If I could go back, I think I'd insist on it though.

Your ds has your surname as a middle name, so you could always use both of them, not hyphenated. You could also choose to double barrel or, like a previous poster said, all 3 of you could be double barrelled. You could also give a future child your surname and dp's as a middle name to even things out.

Btw Ihave only been called Mrs N twice at school. They are very good at using my correct name.

NiceTabard Mon 02-Sep-13 22:33:13

YY what scallops and meditrina say.

There is no "right" answer - as children cannot have an unlimited amount of names in their surname!

You need to do what feels right for you and your situation. Having a different surname is very common and while schools seem to be stuck in patriarchyville with this, it's not going to cause any probs.

OTOH changing your name won't render your feminism void.

There are a limited amount of options here are we have what we have, to work with. So have a good long think and do what you want to do.

rosy71 Mon 02-Sep-13 22:33:46

Your ds has your surname as a middle name, so you could always use both of them, not hyphenated.

Your ds has your surname as a middle name, so he could always use both of them, not hyphenated.

NiceTabard Mon 02-Sep-13 22:34:33

Oh or you could double barrell obv - would mean changing your son's name but depending on age that's not the end of the world.

I come from the position of having a fucking cumbersome surname and none of it's mine hmm grin

BikeRunSki Mon 02-Sep-13 22:38:57

I felt exactly the same when I was expecting my son. I changed my name for home things, and carried on using my own surname at work. Five years later, system seems to be working fine.

NiceTabard Mon 02-Sep-13 23:01:32

I think I should probably have done that bikerunski.

So you're not starting from scratch with clients and contacts and so on. Definitely worth thinking about for anyone who has built up time in a specific industry etc. I should have thought about that one a bit better.

tribpot Mon 02-Sep-13 23:16:23

[Nearly] everyone's name is their dad's but you rarely hear this argument made for why a man gets to keep it on marriage, or why it's somehow 'not really his' and thus interchangeable with any other.

I have never had a problem with school and the fact my surname is different from ds' - it's never even been mentioned.

For me personally it has never been an emotional issue that I have a different surname from ds. In my enormous blended family it is entirely usual to have different surnames (and indeed first names in one case, one relative is known by one name by her father's family and another by her mother's family and her own family). I haven't had the same name as my mum since I was 7. It's just not relevant.

Ds has never asked why we don't have the same surname, btw. I don't think it's ever occurred to him that we could.

I think whatever choice you make will be the right one for you. But at 8 weeks post pregnancy I would hold off on making any big decisions, give yourself some time to think it over.

TheBuskersDog Mon 02-Sep-13 23:17:59

My boys are now 20 and 16, they have their dad's surname- I have never minded that they don't have my surname. I think maybe because I was obviously their mum I didn't feel a need to 'claim' them, giving them their dad's name acknowledged him as their father.
They have never questioned why I have 'my' name, it's just not an issue. I am also very relaxed if someone casually calls me Mrs their name if it's in relation to them, I don't make a big deal of it but obviously I always use my name if I need to give my name about anything.
I have never had any problems with schools, doctors, holidays or anything.
Those saying it's not really your name, it's your dad's, well surely that's exactly the same for men - they got their name from their dads too.

gertrudestein Tue 03-Sep-13 05:52:02

Thanks everyone - it's really good to hear different people's perspectives. nicetabard I agree that we have a limited amount of options. I'm definitely not going to change my name for work purposes, I don't want to double barrell and I think Dh's parents would be devastated if their only child changed his name. I'm also pretty sure I don't want any more kids, and although I can see the fairness of using each parents' name once, for me that wouldn't solve the problem of the family unit being undermined (whi h is far too strong a word, but I can't think of a better one)

Otoh, I just can't bring myself to change my name. Tbh I don't know how much this is principle and how much I simply can't face all the 'I told you you should have got married'/ 'you mean he still won't marry you?' comments from the marriage brigade. (I used to try to explain the situation but people still always assume it's the man's decision not to marry. Drives me bonkers)

So I guess I should just accept it as the best choice for me out of a limited range if choices. V interesting to know its bit just hormones though, so I really do need to come to res with this and not just sit it out.

gertrudestein Tue 03-Sep-13 05:54:00

bikerunski how does it work if you change your name for home things? What is your official name?

gertrudestein Tue 03-Sep-13 05:55:45

Meant to say ... Interesting to know this is not just hotlines, so I do need to come to terms with it ...

Boosterseat Tue 03-Sep-13 11:22:11

DS has my name, his father and I weren't in a relationship when he was born so I didn't even consider it. It raised an eyebrow when we registered the birth but he didn't say anything - I think he just "assumed".

Now married to a different much nicer man and have double barreled my surname but only because he has a lovely last name and it made my very plain name sound a bit naicer grin

DH and I have agreed if we have any more children they will have the double barreled name.

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