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!

NotAnotherPackedLunch Sun 28-Jul-13 13:51:44

There are four surname options for your baby.
1.DH surname
2. Your surname
3. Double barrelled
4. An entirely new surname.

If you have doubts about a double barrelled name then options 1 and 2 should be considered as equally reasonable.

If your baby has your name then you will have the family unit name and it will up to your DH to choose to adapt his surname or retain his individual name. This is the situation many women face in your position, but there is no good reason that it shouldn't be the male partner who faces this choice instead.

LRDYaDumayuIThink Sun 28-Jul-13 14:21:57

Would your DH mind if the baby had your name? It seems to me the most sensible option, since he's the one who doesn't want to double-barrell and since it does make a nice gesture along the same lines as you keeping your name.

ThoraNomiki Sun 28-Jul-13 14:49:03

Can you merge a part of each of your surnames to create a new surname, honouring both your families?

sonlypuppyfat Sun 28-Jul-13 14:54:02

I always thought I had my Dads name and now I've got my husbands name. My maiden name was lovely really traditionally British and I swapped it for a really common name but what does it matter.

Treagues Sun 28-Jul-13 14:54:52

I have not changed my name and to be honest, years on, I don't get any official grief about it at all. If people need correcting then I do it, but it's maybe once a year at most, and nobody really bats an eyelid, schools and airports included.

Older relatives do find it hard, but, really, fuck 'em. grin

DC has DH's surname for aesthetic reasons but truth be told I wish I'd double barrelled just to make the point. I'd just go ahead and don't worry too much when people get it wrong, unless you suspect they're doing it because they think you are inferior. In which case start a thread on here and watch it reach 500 posts within the hour grin

Rollermum Sun 28-Jul-13 15:08:06

Thanks for all the thoughts everyone. It matters to me and DH respects that and doesn't want me to take his surname because he knows deep down it isn't what I want.

Thora - I love that idea and we were going to do that but a few people took the piss.

I will talk to him about it again. I think we both need to stop caring what ancient relatives think as Treagues says!

slug Sun 28-Jul-13 15:34:36

While I kept my name DD has DH's surname. We did it this way because I am one of many siblings whereas DH is an only child. My parents have plenty of grandchildren but DD is the in Laws only grandchild. I love my in Laws. They are truly lovely people who wouldn't have made a fuss but their surname for their only grandchild was my gift to them.

tribpot Sun 28-Jul-13 15:38:48

I can envisage years of bday cards from well meaning relatives with just my husband's surname.

Basically this is going to happen regardless of what option you choose. I wouldn't allow this to influence you - your child certainly won't care!

It's interesting that your DH is so anti changing his name. Most (but not all) of the guys I've ever spoken to about this have said the same. Yet have found it bizarre that I haven't changed mine when I got married. Why should I feel different? They all have their father's surnames too, yet feel (quite rightly) that it is theirs to keep or change as they wish.

IThinkOfHappyWhenIThinkOfYou Sun 28-Jul-13 15:39:57

I think you should both keep your names and double barrel the dcs as this seems to be what you want to do. People will get it wrong sometimes but not often enough or with enough impact to make it unfeasible.

AdoraBell Sun 28-Jul-13 15:48:51

We double barreled our DDs, much to the annoyance of PILs but that wasn't the reason.

So we have

Mrs Adora Bell- OH's name
Mr His Name (he's spent 15 yrs handwringing over weather to use my name but that's his choice)
DDs Bell-OH's name.

I'm not a Dr though and have no other title to use. It hase taken ILs years to manage to write both names on a card for DDs, but they are slowly coming round to idea that winding DDs up by using the wrong name is not winning them any browny points.

Me and DH have a new name that is unique to our family. And even though we are now planning on divorcing I'm keeping the surname because it is as much mine as his.

SconeRhymesWithGone Sun 28-Jul-13 15:53:07

Another option is for the children to have your surname or DH's surname and the other partner's surname for a middle name (not double barrelled).

What Treagues said pretty much applies to my situation. It does not come up often now because we have been married 25+ years, but I have no problem correcting people, especially family, who really ought to know better once they have been told. Getting someone's name right is a very basic matter of respect.

TheDoctrineOfAllan Sun 28-Jul-13 18:54:11

Sonly, did your DH consider taking your father's name rather than you taking his father's name?

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Sun 28-Jul-13 19:24:31

I always thought I had my Dads name and now I've got my husbands name.

And yet your husband got to keep his 'father's name', while you gave yours up.

Do you have any brothers? They get to keep their 'father's name' but yet any daughters are expected to give it up.

How does that make any logical sense? Why are men's surnames deemed their own enough to keep forever, but women's surnames are 'their father's' and therefore easily relinquished?

Sorry, but I think the 'I always had my father's name, so I might as well take my husband's name' argument is the worst sort of let's-ensure-the-patriarchy-endures-into-eternity argument ever.

Bue Sun 28-Jul-13 19:35:25

DonDrapers beat me to it.

SconeRhymesWithGone Sun 28-Jul-13 19:46:18

DonDrapers and Bue beat me to it. Well said, Don.

Rollermum Sun 28-Jul-13 20:02:55

Yep, as DonDrapers said - that is my view. DH gets it, he's not being awkward.

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. And has always thought of it as a bit wanky - no offence to anyone with one! He's fine with double barreling for the mini-one as a compromise, its just me feeling a bit exhausted by all the corrections. I can see why women give in and change their names to make it easier - but I wont be doing so.

My (other) sister once said 'don't bring politics into your marriage' which surprised me because where else would I do it?! The personal really is political (dimly remembered feminism lecture from uni - not that it got a whole lecture it was shared with some other 'wacky' schools of political thought, but that's another post!)

scottishmummy Sun 28-Jul-13 20:12:26

What's troubling you,minor social irritation on cards or the surname of baby?
What about you both maintain,respective names and double barrel baby
I don't understand your pov that family unit has same name,it's old fashioned

Re the double barrel name,when I habitually got cards for the kids addressed to dad surname I eventually sent them back marked not at this address. That soon got the message through and sharpened failing memory

I don't think you need to make any change to your surname, or his and just double barrel for baby

scottishmummy Sun 28-Jul-13 20:16:19

We have our respective surnames, and kids are double barrelled surname
Slight harrumph from some folk,wee hiccup with names on cards
Overall not problematic to have double barrelled surname for the kids

burberryqueen Sun 28-Jul-13 20:19:03

my brother actually told me I had 'no right' to call myself ms. dadsname after marriage! and he was serious! it really pissed him off!

CMOTDibbler Sun 28-Jul-13 20:23:49

We've been married 16 years, and are Ms CMOT, Mr Hisname, and DS CMOT-Hisname. The animals are the same as ds.

People get it wrong - some as they don't know, some just can't get the hang of it (cos they is silly). But I only have to correct people every few months, and dh is just as likely to do so. We both have taken family members to task on the subject.

GP, school etc least likely to get it wrong ime.

Nonsensical Sun 28-Jul-13 20:39:50

We are not married - tho even if we were I wouldn't change my name - but I was happy for the children to have my partner's surname. Partly because I am already double barrelled and he has a long surname so to combine the 2 names would have been fairly monstrous. But also, and I know this is a bit odd, I felt somehow that I had the most incredible experience of growing and giving birth to our babies, and it seemed right somehow that my partner should give them his name as a consolation prize. Interestingly though my eldest who is a girl has started saying she wants my name instead... Glad to see her feminist education is paying off at the tender age of 6!

JulesJules Sun 28-Jul-13 20:48:59

Me and DH kept our own surnames (and yes, although my surname is the same as my Dad's, it is also my name - the only surname I have ever had). The dds have my surname with DH's surname as a 2nd middle name. The two surnames weren't double barrable (? sp)

Inlaws and various elderly rellies didn't like it/ couldn't get the hang of it/ wouldn't get the hang of it. But so what grin

sonlypuppyfat Sun 28-Jul-13 22:00:41

I'm quite tradional so while I did love my maiden name I didn't mourn its passing I was quite proud to take my DH name I wouldn't expect a man to change his name for me and I wouldn't want a double barrel name.

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. My.mil 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 him.no 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

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.

sonlypuppyfat Wed 31-Jul-13 20:08:30

Campaingning for civil partnerships for all? What does that mean?

TheDoctrineOfAllan Wed 31-Jul-13 20:32:31

It means that civil partnerships would be available to heterosexual couples.

TiredyCustards Wed 31-Jul-13 20:44:40

I got married a couple of weeks ago and have kept my name. The thought of changing it made me very uncomfortable, we've been together 10 years and have 2 dc (they have dh's surname), getting married, to me, is mainly a legal thing and living and having dc together are much bigger changes iyswim.

Threw the 'helpful' list of who to change your name with (banks etc) and the dc re-registration forms straight in the bin!

Rollermum Wed 31-Jul-13 20:44:47

Thanks for all the thoughts and responses everyone. Glad to see some others feel the same way about not necessarily going with the norm as a matter of course and have dealt with it in various ways.

On the marriage issue I can see the roots are not great but I think it has moved on for the reasons people have mentioned. I think marriage opening up to all is a very significant gain in this area.

sonlypuppyfat Wed 31-Jul-13 20:45:48

Why would that be different from a wedding to heterosexuals, sorry if I sound a bit thick

Snowgirl1 Wed 31-Jul-13 20:46:08

It's just a name. You don't change as a person when you change your name. What's important is your values and personality, not your name.
I changed my name when I married because I wanted to represent being united as a married couple - and partly because I couldn't be arsed with all the hassle of people getting confused as to what my surname was and also because if we had children I wanted us all to have the same surname. I liked my maiden name and my married name is very common. But I got used to my married name very quickly and changing name hasn't changed me as a person.

TiredyCustards Wed 31-Jul-13 20:46:21

Re double barreling - if everyone did this, when the next generation get married they'd be quadruple-barreled. It's unsustainable ... or something!

scottishmummy Wed 31-Jul-13 20:48:51

Oh yes down with that kind of newfangled name thang
Much Easier to know your place and keep a man name?
With db name you can chose how to arrange it on marriage,it's not unsustainable at all

sonlypuppyfat Wed 31-Jul-13 20:49:14

I could have written that Snowgirl1 I really don't get the fuss.I think its lovely we 5 of us have the same name its like we are a team

Treagues Wed 31-Jul-13 20:51:08

But it's a team where you have agreed that you have less value than the man.
If you want an outward sign of being on the same team, why not both take that on and change to a different name?

scottishmummy Wed 31-Jul-13 20:51:13

I team am in team we,not team he. I don't want his surname
The kids have our surname
No name is the dominant name,or team

sonlypuppyfat Wed 31-Jul-13 20:57:24

I really don't agree that I have less value to a man because I have his name, I must have lived a very sheltered life I've never felt second rate to any man. Some of you must have known some right tools in your life

scottishmummy Wed 31-Jul-13 20:59:53

And you must have tool.time that you need to take same name to feel lovely

sonlypuppyfat Wed 31-Jul-13 21:03:19

I know my place

TheDoctrineOfAllan Wed 31-Jul-13 21:06:03

Sonly, because civil partnerships are without some of the connotations of marriage eg father giving daughter away to husband. They give the legal protection without the historic baggage.

sonlypuppyfat Wed 31-Jul-13 21:09:40

Oh Thank you Allen

NomNomDePlum Wed 31-Jul-13 21:10:33

i am always completely perplexed by this, that intelligent women are prepared to just junk their key identifier in the public sphere upon marriage. i just don't understand it.

but my dcs have my name - i built them with my body, with attendant damages, (carrying them is an astonishing, belittling euphemism, imo) and i think their having my name is a public testament to that. naturally, they are free to dump the name if they feel like doing so when they are grown, but i do hope they won't do so because tradition identifies them (both girls) as the less important parties in whatever relationships they choose to have in adulthood.

takeaway2 Wed 31-Jul-13 21:16:23

Fwiw I kept my surname at work, with the banks etc. however I go around as Mrs dh's surname for the purposes of the school and drs. The dc have dh's surname. My DS however recently realized that mummy was the only one who wasn't a dh's surname (because I get post in my surname) and so decided he wanted to db his name. grin He is 5.

We have friends who use mums surname as a middle name, others who db their name and their kids names whilst dh keeps his own name, still others who took turns in keeping their surname (dc1 her name, dc2 his name, dc3 her name...).

JassyRadlett Wed 31-Jul-13 21:18:38

My DS is nearly two, and we've gone with your plan. For the most part it's fine and DS being double-barrelled (Mylast-DHlast) has actually made some of his older family (and mine) more aware/accepting of the fact I didn't change my name.

Get an address stamp or stickers made for you and DH. Somehow this seemed to convince people that these are our 'official' names.

When DS was born we sent thank you cards with his picture and full name on the front, to help point people in the right direction.

We've never had a piece of post to him misaddressed, though I still get the occasional personal thing. DH's family sometimes get the double-barrelling round the wrong way in informal situations though I'm hoping it's unintentional.

It's a pain, but it works for us.

Lottapianos Wed 31-Jul-13 21:22:28

'Sonly, because civil partnerships are without some of the connotations of marriage eg father giving daughter away to husband. They give the legal protection without the historic baggage.'

Completely agree that civil partnership is a much more attractive option. Peter Tatchell and the Equal Love website are still campaigning to have CPs extended to hetero couples - more info at www.equallove.org.uk if you're interested.

JassyRadlett Wed 31-Jul-13 21:34:24

Sorry, meant to say 'occasionally a pain'!

I see the tired old canard about inevitable quadruple barrelling has come out. Wondered how long that would take. I'm happy for my kid(s) to do whatever suits them, but I quite like the idea of a boy passing on his father's name and a girl her mother's.

For the record:

* My connection with DS is that I'm his mother; DH's is that he's DS's father. Don't need names for a connection.

* DH, DS and I are a team. We feel like a team. Amazingly, we have achieved this without sharing a name.

sonlypuppyfat Wed 31-Jul-13 21:39:12

Thats really super for you Jassy its just not what I wanted and I thought that was what we were talking about. I just wanted us all to be the same. Tradition is very important to us.

wherearemysocka Wed 31-Jul-13 21:42:15

That's fine and your choice sonly. Doesn't make you more married than anyone else though.

JassyRadlett Wed 31-Jul-13 21:42:37

Sonly, your choices are your own. I think a blithe 'tradition is important to us' is not a great thing because there are plenty of societal traditions that are actively damaging, but that's up to you.

However you suggesting, even obliquely, that sharing a name makes a family feel more of a 'team' is flat-out baseless and needed challenging.

TheDoctrineOfAllan Wed 31-Jul-13 21:46:57

Sonly, there's two aspects to that though - one is "all having the same name" and the other is "being traditional" - only the second means that the name under the first is DH's.

Rollermum Wed 31-Jul-13 21:52:10

Jassy - thanks for the label and photo suggestion. Great idea!

I love the idea of being a team but thinking about it DH and I have been a team for last 13 yrs and don't share a name so maybe it doesn't matter as much as I thought.

JassyRadlett Wed 31-Jul-13 21:58:40

Honestly, Roller, it's ridiculous what a noticeable difference the address labels made. It's like people thought 'ooh, they spent a tenner on some stickers, they must really mean this name thing!' after laboriously writing our names on the backs of dozens of cards achieved very little.

rosy71 Wed 31-Jul-13 23:08:28

Re double barreling - if everyone did this, when the next generation get married they'd be quadruple-barreled. It's unsustainable ... or something!

In other countries e.g. Spain, everyone has 2 surnames and it doesn't cause any problems.

minimalisthoarder Wed 31-Jul-13 23:43:22

I changed my name for practicality but feel that by using Ms, not Mrs, I've removed a bit of the 'owned by husband' tone I felt came with the Mrs. Took me 7 or 8 years to get around it doing it after we married... We chose a family name and I choose to use it too; I'm not completely happy with it, but it's a practical compromise, even if DH thinks it's funny angry and I keep explaining myself to people that we *are *married. Hopefully I'll stop that soon endlessly seeking approval

Weirdly, what kicked it off was looking at the Royal family's website at around the time of the Royal wedding a couple of years ago, and it said that women are 'styled' (i.e. titled, given status), by their husbands. What bloody nonsense, I thought, my status in society, whatever that means, is all my own doing, ta.

Years back apparently a married woman kept her full maiden name but had the title Mrs John Smith or whatever. I could live with that, provided my husband could also use the title Mr My Two Names grin and when a Dame's husband is Sir just like a Sir's wife is Lady!

And yes I do like it when we get cards addressed to Dr & Mr DHname grin and blush I only really use Dr for work as it's not a medical title (no use with a heart attack, me) but I will admit to a little light vanity, as Dr trumps Mr in the etiquette line, or so I heard, and I worked bloody hard for it!

minimalisthoarder Wed 31-Jul-13 23:50:47

In Spain, the convention is that each person gets one surname from each parent, and it's the male side that gets handed down to the child, to avoid exponential-surname-expansion. So the female side is represented, but only for one generation. Male-side name goes first in the DB:

e.g.
DH is Juan Lopez Diego
Wife is Maria Santo Matador

Child is Domingo Lopez Santo

Child marries Theresa Flamenco Saville (I'm running out of Spanish names here), nobody changes any surnames

Grandchild is Juanita Lopez Flamenco

Which sort of solves the problem and sort of doesn't, as it's the patriarchal line that keeps the name going down.

Waiting to be corrected by someone who knows this stuff properly!

Woodhead Thu 01-Aug-13 10:06:41

Thanks Allen, that's quite reassuring.
Be nice if it was the default on birth certificates as well, it would remove a lot of later angst for parents that seperate.

I always thought the Spanish model sounded good, but had assumed that the female line kept the matralineal surnames and males the patrilineal. From minimalist's post, it seems that it is only a partial solution.

Shockingundercrackers Fri 02-Aug-13 11:57:19

Just had a phone call for dh... I explained that he wasn't in but that I was his wife, they could talk to me. He immediately started up a sales patter directed at mrs dh surname. It just sounded so embarrassingly old fashioned...

For me it is a feminist statement to have kept my real name. I'm married yes but that's no ones business but my own. I have not changed my identity in the slightest and if people lamely suggest that I have then I just feel a bit sorry for them and their antideluvian attitudes tbh. Just makes them look a bit stupid grin

DuelingFanjo Fri 02-Aug-13 12:00:56

what about two surnames... without the double barreled Hypheny bit.

So if your child was called Percy and you are a jones and DH is a Davies, call the baby Percy Jones Davies

LesserOfTwoWeevils Sat 10-Aug-13 01:47:05

My DSs are officially Weevil-TheirDF's name but to my annoyance they both dropped Weevils because it was all a bit of a mouthful.
DD has her dad's surname because I didn't want her to be double-barrelled but different from her brothers. And because her older sister just has her mum's name and her dad was upset.
But now I wish she were Weevils-Hisname.
Actually I wish they were all just Weevils.

FreedomOfTheTess Mon 12-Aug-13 10:41:49

minimalist - you're spot on about Spanish naming customs, while the child does get a surname from each parent, it's still from the paternal line.

So the name the child gets from his/her mother, is the name the mother took from her father, not the one she took from her mother.

Furthermore, a lot of people I know from Spanish/Hispanic backgrounds, tend to only end up using one surname and the majority opt for the first one (the one from their father).

Penelope Cruz for example, is actually Penelope Cruz Sanchez, but just uses Cruz.

However, her husband Javier Bardem, uses the surname he got from his mother (his full name is Javier Angel Encinas Bardem).

badguider Mon 12-Aug-13 10:48:35

Early in the thread there was lots of talk of correcting people a lot - I don't bother. I have my original name and am married. Our ds will have my surname as a middle name and dh's as a surname.

If people call dh my partner I dont' bother correcting that we are married.. he is my 'partner' in life.. unless it matters to somebody (a solicitor or something) or we're talking about marriage then I let it slide.

And I don't really bother correcting most post or lists of names if they put me down as Mrs Him. It doesn't bother me either, I see 'Mrs Him' as being a label I have.. just like I am also 'ds's mum' or 'dm's daughter'..

I guess it depends how picky and precise you want to be. I am not 'forever correcting' anybody about anything because I don't care enough.... grin

cookymonster Wed 14-Aug-13 02:00:26

I certainly won't be adopting my fiance's name when we marry. I know it's not a big deal for everyone, but for me it's huge. The thought of being addressed as ''Mrs'' makes me cringe.

qumquat Wed 14-Aug-13 18:20:38

Double barrelling is NOT unsustainable, this argument drives me nuts, all Spanish speaking countries have sustained it for centuries. Everybody has two surnames, one from their father one from their mother. Nobody changes their name on marriage. Children are then given one name from their mother and one from their father. It is still patriarchal overall as the name which is passed on to the child is the name from the grandfathers rather than the grandmothers, but SO much better than our system. Nobody finds it in the least bit confusing, in fact I caused consternation in a Costs Rican police station by only having one surname, the database couldn't cope!

qumquat Wed 14-Aug-13 18:22:17

Oops, should've read while thread!

qumquat Wed 14-Aug-13 18:22:29

Whole thread

curlew Wed 14-Aug-13 18:31:18

I am Myname. Dp is Hisname. The Dcs are Myname-Hisname. Been like that for 17 years. It has never been the slightest problem. People sometimes get it wrong- they call us the Myname-Hisnames, or call me Hisname. If it's important and e can be bothered, we correct them, but usually we don't. The Dcs love having an completely unique name, and google every now and then to make sure nobody else has that particular combination. Go for it. It's much easier than you think- I hate th expression "over thinking" (over thinking is usually much better than under thinking!) but in these circumstances..........

I've kept my own name, DCs have DH's name, it has never been a problem at all. I use an email address with both surnames so that when I deal with cub leaders etc they all know whose parent I am. I scribble the DCs surname on the back of cheques to pay for their activities in case it gets separated from the slip. That is the extent of the hassle, ie virtually none. Never had a problem with two different surnames on hotel signing cards, or paying with a credit card in my own name for something DH has booked, in fact no one has ever really said anything at all.

I will NEVER use the title Mrs.

CaptChaos Wed 14-Aug-13 20:58:55

I have been married twice. My maiden name was annoying, in that no one could either pronounce or spell it, plus I didn't see it as an issue, so I changed it to ExH's name. After we were divorced, given how traumatic it had all been, I was just glad to be rid of the violent twunt, but it never occurred to me to use my maiden name again blush when I married DH2, it would have been ridiculous to have kept my older married name so now I have another unpronoucable and unspellable bloody surname. However, I do the American thing of calling myself Capt Chaos DH'sname (with the Chaos bit as my maiden name)

It might be because my family are a bit hmm about me at the best of times. My DS1's name on his birth cert is Chaos Hisdad'sname, but my 'D'M thinks that's ridiculous, and only uses his DD's name. Drives me mad. She thinks I'm just 'doing' feminism to be difficult anyway!

cookymonster Thu 15-Aug-13 03:03:39

''I will NEVER use the title Mrs.''

Glad I'm not alone on that one!

curlew Thu 15-Aug-13 06:43:36

"I've kept my own name, DCs have DH's name, it has never been a problem at all. I use an email address with both surnames so that when I deal with cub leaders etc they all know whose parent I am. I scribble the DCs surname on the back of cheques to pay for their activities in case it gets separated from the slip. That is the extent of the hassle, ie virtually none. Never had a problem with two different surnames on hotel signing cards, or paying with a credit card in my own name for something DH has booked, in fact no one has ever really said anything at all. "

Why have they got his last name?

exoticfruits Thu 15-Aug-13 07:09:33

I hate double barrelled names.
I just changed to DHs and the children had his- since he died shortly afterwards I was so thankful they at least had his name. I married again and changed again.
I like being in a family unit with all the same name - I would rather be in one with my DH and my DCs than making a unit with my brothers and their DCs.

Thurlow Thu 15-Aug-13 07:27:49

Curlew, why shouldn't they have his name? confused We have the same set up. No problems either. DC have just as much right to their dad's name as their mum's name.

curlew Thu 15-Aug-13 07:33:21

Absolutely. I was just wondering why the assumption is that it's the dad's nam used, and if anyone in the family has a different name to everyone else it's going to be the mother.

Thurlow Thu 15-Aug-13 08:28:22

Maybe it was a nicer surname or went better with the kids names? I guess my assumption would be that a woman who was confident enough to neither change her surname nor become Mrs is probably unlikely to just blindly follow what is seen as a patriarchal tradition

curlew Thu 15-Aug-13 08:37:10

That's why I asked.

It's just that I have noticed as I go through life that it's amazing how often the nicer surname, or the one that goes better with the kid's names or the one that's easier to spell seems to be the man's name.

And that the person in a relationship who compromises is usually the woman. And I know lots of families where both adults keep their own names and the kids have their dad's I only know two where the kids have the mother's name.

So I guess I was curious.

Many reasons Curlew. There is never going to be any doubt that I am their mother to be honest, whereas if they did not have DH's surname it is more likely people would assume he is not their father, especially if it came to a split. My surname does not work at all with DD's first name, DH's surname is much nearer the start of the alphabet. To be honest as well, I was rocking the boat enough by not taking DH's surname, I've made my point. I don't mind having a different surname at all, if people assume we're not married then that's not a problem (unless it's for legal purposes). Double -barrelled wouldn't have worked either, too much of a mouthful and I don't like them.

As for the baggage of marriage, my view is that yes, there is historical baggage, but modern marriage is an equal partnership, you don't have to be given away by anyone, or change your name if you don't want to. It confers a lot of benefits legally and while I can see that civil partnership for heterosexuals is one way of ditching the baggage, I don't see why you can't modernise marriage rather than set up a separate system.

curlew Thu 15-Aug-13 09:00:09

The patriarchy lives and breathes!

Every little helps Curlew. I will be the first to admit that I don't make the feminist choice every time in my life, but as I came on here to tell the OP what works for us that is what I have done.

YouMakeMeWannaLaLa Thu 15-Aug-13 14:26:11

I didn't take H's surname but I did give DS H's surname. It wasn't an automatic thing, I did think about it a lot and now tbh I regret the choice I made.

I chose to give him H's suname genuinely because it is so much easier to spell and pronounce than mine and I had been bullied for my surname (forrin).

When I was as school I couldn't wait to change my surname upon on marriage, it was the bane of my life, but by the time I got married I was a feminist and I also felt I'd suffered for my name as a kid so I was damn well gonna keep it (plus the effort and expense to change it did not appeal.

However, I wish I had given him my name now because we are so much more multicultural now so people tend to be more accepting and careful with surnames so he wouldn't have suffered how I did.

Sorry, personal rant there, but it's worth thinking about, as you are, because, as said upthread, it's not easy to change it later..

My best friend married her DP after 15 years and 3 kids together. She changed her name and said it was because it would be easier if they all had the same surname. Her eldest had been at school 5 years at this point.

I suspect that a lot of women like to 'show off' the fact they are married. It's a way of bragging that you got a man. Connects up with the 'Not putting a man at the centre of your life' thread.

exoticfruits Thu 15-Aug-13 16:35:24

I would give them DH's name for the same reason as whoknows- there is no doubt I am the mother, there might be doubt about the father.
As it turned out DH died before he was 30yrs and at least he left his name- there wasn't a lot else to leave.
I think people should do what suits them and not worry about others.
My DC's much prefer their surname anyway- they don't like mine.

exoticfruits Thu 15-Aug-13 16:36:35

I can't see why it should matter to others.

Thurlow Thu 15-Aug-13 17:39:11

I do agree that other people are more likely to make the assumption that men with a different surname to their DC are more likely to be considered not their Dad than a mum with a different surname would be

DontActuallyLikePrunes Thu 15-Aug-13 17:42:25

Curlew, at the time we were naming dc, I hadn't thought it through. I regret not having my name in there.
If I had another baby, I would give the child both names. I think that's fair enough.

Woodhead Thu 15-Aug-13 18:04:22

exoticfruits it matters to others because it is incredibly hard to deviate from social norms held by close to a majority. Even being in a substantial minority can be a difficult position.

I'm incredibly grateful, that due to my education, career and generation I am able to keep my own surname despite being married, with a reasonable amount of understanding and support from wider society. As it is a generally accepted minority act, the social consequences of deviation are not too severe. There are niggles and annoyances still though, and these would diminish as more people choose to move to a more equal convention.

Many of my friends have children with ex's surnames and now regret that they didn't make a different choice. It would be fantastic to live in such an equal society that anyones individual choice was simply that, and didn't help to support a tradition of inequality, but we don't. So whilst of course on an individual level it's good to support people's well thought out individual choices, on a more aggregate level of course people will care about other people's choices as these influence the social norms which we exist amongst.

I'd personally also love people to boycott pink, even if they like the colour, simply because it's become a cultural norm applied to one gender and not the other, and it would be good to see a cultural shift away from this.

exoticfruits Thu 15-Aug-13 19:07:26

I was a substantial minority- I have a different name to my DC and it never caused any problems.
My choice is simply my choice- the rest is up to everyone else.
Pink is just a colour. DH has pink shirts and a pink jumper- I have a pink skirt. I am not boycotting a colour.

exoticfruits Thu 15-Aug-13 19:08:59

I like being a minority and different- there is no need to follow the herd.

Woodhead Thu 15-Aug-13 19:29:25

Choices don't exist in a vaccuum though. My choices may impact on others and there's on me. Individual choices matter far more to the individual, and have a small impact on wider society; but if enough individual choices are the same and have a particular bias then that will have an impact on what is seen as normal or typical.

If for every child who was named patrilineally the same number were named matrilineally, then that would be equal and individuals wouldn't feel a social norm pushing them towards a particular choice.

Individualism is great, but many many people are influenced by social norms, so it's worth considering how individual choices might impact on others.

I feel that unlike in marriage, the choices for DCs surname don't have one totally equal option (unless you double barrel).

So a married couples name
- one changes name = unequal
- both change name = equal
- both keep own name = equal

Whereas for children's names
- father name = unequal
- mothers name = unequal
- both names - whichever one is last will be used as a surname = unequal

So, out of all the unequal options for the children, we had to pick one. Admittedly I hadn't thought it through in quite this level of detail back then, but I did feel that (as I said earlier) I didn't want to put DH in the position of people assuming he was not their real father. Even if we did split he is a great father and as entitled to have them bear his name as I am.

Woodhead Thu 15-Aug-13 19:43:34

OK, if parents have both changed to completely new joint name, this is equal and can be given equally to children.

Mother's name to daughters and father's name to sons (equal-on population aggregate).

Double barrelling with order flipped for male/female children (equal-on aggregate), and each keeps the one from their same gender parent when they marry.

I'm sure there are more options as well.

exoticfruits Thu 15-Aug-13 20:09:24

I am quite happy with the social norm. As family history is my hobby it makes life much simpler all round.

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