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MIL refuses to use DC's correct surname

(110 Posts)
tigrou Wed 29-Oct-14 10:09:15

(first-time AIBU poster - long-time lurker)
DH and I come from different countries, and live in his. Our DC have both our surnames, to reflect their dual nationality and identity, and pay tribute to both our families. MIL absolutely never uses their full name, only ever giving them DH's surname. Even when, for example, I have just dictated her an email address using their full (correct) surname, she then wrote their names with just DH's surname.

AIBU to see this as a deliberate snub? As if, in her mind, me and my background are totally incidental to the life of our children?

We've never discussed why we chose to give our DC both surnames with MIL, but AIBU to expect her to respect our choice without justifying it to her? It's their name, it's on their birth certificate, surely that should be enough?

CrashDiveOnMingoCity Wed 29-Oct-14 10:11:06

Make up a new surname for her and repeatedly refer to her by it e.g. if her surname is Johnson, call her 'Johns'. Hopefully she'll get the message. wink

tiktok Wed 29-Oct-14 10:12:01

Very rude and dismissive - if you are unable to tackle it, then your DH needs to tell his mother very clearly i) that the DCs' name is what it is and ii) both he and you will be annoyed if she persists in ignoring this fact.

PrettyPictures92 Wed 29-Oct-14 10:12:45

Side question, why would you dictate an email for your MIL to write? Why not do it yourself?

I think it's perfectly common for people to just use one of the surnames when there are two, except in more formal matters. Many people just refer to the one because it's easier and nobody likes spouting the whole name, bit like people don't give off the middle names.

That said, my sons psychiatrist has two surnames, both written on all communication, but he only ever gets referred to with one and only uses one (but encourages kids to use the other one instead because it's 'fun' for them)

Oldraver Wed 29-Oct-14 10:13:41

I would address her by her maiden name

NoArmaniNoPunani Wed 29-Oct-14 10:15:35

YANBU. Surely if she misses your surname off the email address then the email won't arrive?

Mampire Wed 29-Oct-14 10:16:47

it's an attempt to manipulate, but if their sur name is legally your sur name then no amount of manipulation can change that.

Cariad007 Wed 29-Oct-14 10:17:04

Pretty OP said she dictated an email address, not an email!

TooSpotty Wed 29-Oct-14 10:17:49

It's deeply irritating but pretty common I think. I kept my name on marriage but none of my in-laws, or indeed my own sodding family, refer to me as anything other than by my husband's surname. I even get the dreaded 'Mr and Mrs X Husband' where my initial disappears. I think it's generational, or certainly an outlook, as my sister-in-law, who did change her name, also uses my imaginary 'married' name.

Had we given our kids a double-barrelled name, I have no doubt whatsoever that it would have been completely ignored by all these people in favour of my husband's surname.

My in-laws do like and appreciate me though!

Waltermittythesequel Wed 29-Oct-14 10:18:53

I'm not sure tbh.

Most people I know with two surnames have ended up using just the one.

It's handier/easier and, I hate to say it, but where I'm from a double barrelled surname was poncy!

Asteria Wed 29-Oct-14 10:19:05

My FIL insists on calling me Mrs Crapname, despite me being Mrs Crapname-Frickingawesomename. I have taken to pretending I'm not listening and then claiming I thought he was addressing his own wife rather than his son's wife! It is childish, but we are a blended family and decided to use both our names to help our children feel included.
FIL is very aware of our surname - he is just being a dick attention seeking.

FryOneFatManic Wed 29-Oct-14 10:20:21

My surname is double barrelled. I've only ever used the full surname. That's my name and I would not be happy if someone unilaterally decided to shorten it.

OP, I think your MIL is actually being funny about the surname. Not using your half is, IMO, deliberate. If she's never used your part of the surname, and also has never referred to it, eg asking why you and your DH have done this, then that just makes is more deliberate in my mind.

If you've dictated an email address and she's dropping part of the address, then she's shooting herself in the foot, isn't she. Emails won't get through.

Asteria Wed 29-Oct-14 10:21:44

So YANBU at all!

tigrou Wed 29-Oct-14 10:23:56

Wow, that went fast, I am now totally addicted to refreshing for replies, and not getting on with any work!
Glad I am not alone in finding it rude!
Pretty I was dictating an email address (that used their surname) because she was filling in a form for the DC to be entered into a prize draw
TripTrap true, it is longer and more cumbersome, and I accept that my DC may chose to only use part of it. What bothers me is someone else making that decision without any reference to me, them or DH.

tallulah Wed 29-Oct-14 10:25:20

We get this a lot from DH's side of the family. His aunt still writes to us all with just his surname - drives DC1 (28) mad! I can understand her using just his surname for him, or if she's sending a card to both of us but she sends cards to the kids with the wrong name on.

MIL managed to get the idea many years ago and his DBs started using our whole name about 10 years ago (been db for 28 years).

ZombiePartridge Wed 29-Oct-14 10:28:29

I advise a passive-aggressive response - maybe get to your local craft store and make a lovely DIY piece of wall art with your DH's full name (first name and surname) on one side of the card, your full name on the other side of the card, and your DC's FULL NAMES in the middle of the card.

Make it big and stick it on a prominent wall. When MIL comes over, draw her attention to it and say how much you love the presentation and everyday reminder of your children's BLENDED BACKGROUND. Then smile.
If she doesn't live near you, do this on Facebook and tag her (plus other family members) so she can't claim ignorance.

Or maybe send it to her as a 'lovely' card grin <evil>

soundsystem Wed 29-Oct-14 10:29:40

YANBU

I had this as well. Told DH (calmly) that if his family couldn't get their heads round it the children would have my maiden name only, not both. Everyone now manages to get it right smile They probably did think I was being a bit unreasonable, but I think it would be confusing for kids if their own family call them by the wong name!

sashh Wed 29-Oct-14 10:30:47

How old are your children?

I heard of identical twins where one uncle claimed he just could not tell them apart even though other close family could.

After the twins decided they couldn't tell him apart from another uncle and consistently called him the other uncle's name he learned to tell them apart.

Maybe you could do something similar.

LilyPotter Wed 29-Oct-14 10:31:22

My parents are also stuck in a 1950s timewarp and insist on addressing things to me as MrsJamesPotter. Have lost count of the number of times I've pointed out that my name is Lily, not James, but they're in their 80s and not about to change now.

Poofus Wed 29-Oct-14 10:35:01

We have exactly this problem too (although MIL is not the worst offender by a long way in my family). And for all those saying, "well two names are just cumbersome, of course people will just use one of them" - why is it always the woman's name which disappears? No one has ever referred to my DS just by MY name!

tigrou Wed 29-Oct-14 10:35:50

Actually, what bugs me the most is that she does it to their face - like addressing letters to DC or getting a magazine subscription for them, using only DH's surname. Like she's telling them that I don't count (or that a double-barrelled name is poncy, which it may be but it's none of her business!)
Just to clear up the email business, I dicated the address which she wrote down correctly, then carried on filling in the form with their names.

GoatsDoRoam Wed 29-Oct-14 10:41:05

She's being narrow-minded, petty and manipulative. Your decision is one that clearly she personally disagrees with, but instead of just moving on, she is scoring points, being PA, and drawing your children into it.

That last bit is really not on. she can be as upset as she wants, but involving children in her pettiness is just shitty.

What does your DH say?

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Wed 29-Oct-14 10:45:46

My DD has a double barrelled surname. I would swiftly correct anyone who didn't use it correctly. As with you it is a combination of my Ex and my surname.

NoArmaniNoPunani Wed 29-Oct-14 10:46:24

I suspect I'm going to have this issue when we have a baby. Does the order of the names make a difference or does the woman's name get dropped regardless?

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