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?
* Gertrude* my official driving license and passport name is DH's. At work I use my own name, as I always have done. HR, HMRC and DVLA are all aware of this, and happy about it. I have bank accounts in both names. My professional bodies etc know mee as Dr Unmarried. Work call me Dr Unmarried, DC's school call me Mrs Married. Never been a problem, particularly as my job is nighly unlikely to ever send me abroad.
This is why Iceland has an infinitely better naming system than we do!
Dh and I are married to each other and I kept my own surname, because we just thought it was weird for me to have to give up my name just because I'm the woman. It's not feminist or fair...
I always thought (and still mostly think) that my future children if I'm lucky enough to have some will get their dad's surname, for one simple reason: it has been his family name all his life, whereas I changed my name by deed poll in my teens to the name I have now, therefore I'm not connected to it by blood and therefore don't feel strongly about passing it on.
If I was connected to my surname though, I would feel differently, and wouldn't see why my child shouldn't have my name. I also am anti-double-barrelling - I think it sounds too fussy and (so-shoot-me!) too bourgeois. I guess it is the only really viable answer to this problem though.
We've discussed it and came up with wacky options including coping the Icelandic system or the Irish Gaeltacht (patro- or matronymic) system. Our families would think we were mad, but they already think that anyway.
It's such a tough one. The bottom line is that there's no reason why the family name be the guy's name just because he's a guy, yet there's no way around it without severely deforming our naming system and saddling your child with a lifetime of explaining his/her name to strangers. This is where the patriarchy gets you.
Bikerunski don't you mind being called Mrs Married by your DC's school? Maybe I'm wrong, but I feel insulted that since I've got married, my 'Dr Muriel' status has been downgraded in many people's minds to 'Mrs Husband'. I just don't like the implication that being someone's wife is now what defines me, and trumps both the name I have kept and the PhD I did.
I prefer being called by the surname.my children, husband and I share, in domestic/family situations, as that is the name of my domestic persona. I don' t think a PhD in Civil Engineering is relevant at all ! Equally, in professional circumstances it is totally relevant, and that is when I prefer to use it. I am not am academic though, so I don't insist or pull rank on it. I always thought it was rather bad form to use academic titles in non- academic situation or business situations in the same, or an associated , field).
Oh, I didn't mean that I like to pull rank with my title or anything like that, I hate that kind of thing. If there was a female equilavent of the marriage-and-age-neutral 'Mr' I'd happily use that, but there isn't: female titles are based around your age and marital status, and I find this problematic. 'Dr' isn't, so I use that.
It's not like my DH and I use our titles wantonly or anything, but they do get used on some envelopes addressed to us, and I found it odd that 'Dr and Dr' often became 'Dr and Mrs' when we got married (in letters from banks, my grandmother, our local cattery, my parents-in-law...). If my PhD got cancelled out when I got married, how come my husband's remained intact?
When I get married at the end of the year I won't be changing my name, which means it will be different from DS. The way I see it, I've had my name for over 20 years, it's part of me, part of my identity. DS has a name that will be part of his identity. It doesn't change the fact that I'm his mother and I love him. A rose by any other name and all that.