Maiden name VS. Married name

Jodi - posted on 05/31/2012 ( 41 moms have responded )

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Today, while at an appointment with my kids, there was a nice *older* lady (not old...not even 70) in the waiting area with me. She was talking to my 3 year old and asked her what her name is. My daughter, having just learned her WHOLE name, told the lady her whole name. No biggie. Then after a few minutes, the lady turns to me and asks me a question referring to me as Mrs. (My children's last name). I answered her question, but told her my last name is (my last name, lol my maiden name!). She then went into this lecture about how living in sin is bad enough, but to have children without being married is blah-dee-freakin'-blah. At which point I held up my ring finger, with my wedding band and simply said "I kept my last name when we got married." I really thought that she would apologize and that would be that...oh no...not even close.

I then got lectured on how a woman should take her husband's last name, it's too confusing for other people, it'll be so confusing for my kids, society has certain expectation that we need to live up to and so on and so forth. I get weird comments a lot about my choice in keeping my last name, but very rarely actual judgement, this just blew me away.

So, did you keep your maiden name? Is there a specific reason? Do you find anything "wrong" or annoying or what not with someone else keeping their maiden name?

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Johnny - posted on 06/02/2012

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"For me the idea of changing your name belongs to the middle ages when a woman became her husband's property. It really upsets me. I'm distraught that it seems to be coming back in favour after a couple of decades of it being out of fashion."

Hmm. I find this a bit offensive. Sort of like the chick in the bank who told me I was giving up my identity when I changed my name. Given that I had the choice, made the choice independently of anyone else's opinions, and have always been and will always be an independent woman who makes my own choices in life, I find this opinion a tad archaic itself. I changed my name simply because I was tired of my old one, didn't like it all that much, really liked my husbands, and it seemed like a great opportunity.

It never really went out of fashion here. Although not changing your name has also been equally common for a very long time. Many of my mom's friends kept their own last names for professional or other reasons, so to me, it always just seemed like a CHOICE we get to make when we get married. I even know people who changed names to the wife's and who combined their surnames to make a new one. One of my aunts upon remarrying after divorcing my uncle chose a whole new last name with her new husband for them both to have a "fresh start".

Perhaps for YOU its not the right choice, but to presume that it holds the same meaning in modern times for other women is a tad presumptuous. I know the history of marriage, but I choose to have a modern marriage, not beholden to the rules of the past. Speaking of which, both ot the recent same-sex marriages I have attended (which is legal here), one spouse changed their surname so both couples would share. How does that fit in to that archaic construct?

Krista - posted on 06/02/2012

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For me the idea of changing your name belongs to the middle ages when a woman became her husband's property. It really upsets me. I'm distraught that it seems to be coming back in favour after a couple of decades of it being out of fashion.

And being your father's property is so much more desirable? Pfft.

Like it or not, in our society, our naming system is patriarchal. That's just the way it is. Neither of your names are TRULY your own -- they were given to you or chosen for you. So if you're really that concerned about independence, the only true answer is to pick your own first name and surname and have them legally changed.

Rosie - posted on 06/01/2012

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no i did not keep my maiden name, didn't like it, reminded me of the douche canoe that gave it too me. i was all to happy to give it up.
even if that was not the case i still would've taken my husbands last name, i like feeling like i am "his" i guess. for some reason the name reaffirms that for me.
i do not find anything wrong with someone keeping their name. i don't give a shit at all...i do get annoyed at the people that keep their own name because they don't want to seem weak or that they belong to a man. even though they got their own last name from a man in the first place...

Johnny - posted on 06/01/2012

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I never have observed any of the kids I knew or now know who have different last names than one of their parents (or both of their parents) or whatever to be at all confused about the issue. Perhaps adults who are very old-fashioned and stuck "in the box" are confused by it, but that's really their problem.

People should really follow what has meaning to them and what they are most comfortable with. You have to live with your names, not some old bitty in the store overly comfortable with sharing her personal opinions.

I will say that I think too many names and too long names can be problematic and difficult. It doesn't personally effect me at all, so if people don't care that it might make their life more complicated, then neither do I. And here I am mostly thinking of filling out forms and makins sure your name has proper space to appear on your driver's license and such. The "Michael Simonson-Battison-Jenkins-Wong" might have some issues down the line when he goes to get his driver's license. But that's just more about practicality and convenience than whether I think it really matters.

Krista - posted on 06/01/2012

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Yeah, I think we don't give kids enough credit. We're the ones who get confused. Kids just accept their reality as it is, really. My ex-stepmom kept her maiden name when she married my dad. My half-brother had no issues with his mom and dad having different last names -- no more than them having different first names. It was what it was.

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Everdeene - posted on 06/08/2013

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I'm not married, but when I am, I will keep my maiden name.
My mother kept her maiden name when she married.
I believe that changing your name when you get married was just 'the done thing' in the 1970s and before. Older women may not really 'get it'.
Women should choose whether they want to change their name or not. Really, it's up to you, and it shouldn't matter.

Krista - posted on 06/02/2012

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Exactly. If I drop something or goof up somehow, I always catch myself saying, "Good one, Chiasson!" And there are definitely traits in myself, my sister, and our respective children that are very "Chiasson"-esque, and we'll note it as such.

So just because you change your name, you never really leave the old name behind.

Jodi - posted on 06/02/2012

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"I never would have ever had a different last name than my children and my husband feels the same way" Sherri said this, among other things, never bothering to get married if she wasn't going to take his last name, and him refusing to marry her if she refused to take his last name. That to me says that the surname IS of vital importance to her marriage and to her family unit. I could be wrong, but it's coming across that way to me.

And we do the same thing, my mother's maiden name was Simpson, I identify as a Simpson even though that's not my last name, I refer to my children as Simpsons when they do something "Simpsoney", cousins that didn't have the last name Simpson were still Simpsons in our book. Just like, I don't carry my husband's last name, but I'm still part of that family and identify with it just fine! lol

Janice - posted on 06/02/2012

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In relation to a name signifying a the cohesiveness of a family, I don't think anyone believes it is vital but some may enjoy the feeling they get when saying one name in reference to their loved ones.



My maiden name is Billings. Most of us cousins on my fathers side have grown up together. My father has 4 sisters who all had children who had their father's last name, so technically they were never a "Billings" but yet we all refer to each by that last name. If someone is late to a function- its cause they're a "Billings" If the party is getting rowdy its because we are "Billings" even though most of us never were or no longer are technically "Billings".



It has nothing to do with archaic ideas of us belonging to our grandfather. When I chose to take my husbands name it was because I like the warm fuzzies I get when I say the Coleman family in reference to our immediate family unit. Sure I could have insisted my hubby take my name and our children too but I knew he would never go for that and it just felt odd to me.

As for hyphenating I just find it too long and then if I wanted that for our kids and then they did the same when they got married they would have 3(or 4) last names and that is just silly.

Sherri - posted on 06/02/2012

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@Jakki in our area here are the stats. However, this doesn't factor in who has children and who doesn't either.



For population 15 years and over in Bedford town:



* Never married: 15.9%

* Now married: 71.3%

* Separated: 0.9%

* Widowed: 5.9%

* Divorced: 6.1%

Jodi - posted on 06/02/2012

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Yeah, my neighbor has 3 kids, 3 dads, each kid has a different last name, she kept her maiden name after marrying her husband (not the father of any of the children), so, 5 people, 5 last names. I probably know as many people who have 2 or more last names in each family, maybe more, than I do people who, as a whole family unit, decided to all have the same last name. It's pretty common to ask kids, what's your mommy's last name? Or, what's your daddy's last name? I kind of feel that, if you have to have something as arbritary as the same last name to feel like a family unit...*might* not be so healthy. I mean, we're a family unit, we are a STRONG family unit, we could just not have a last name at all and still be a family unit. For me, it's not the name, it's not the color of your hair, it's not the residence that makes a family, it's your interactions. I know a few families, who all have the same last name, but never DO anything together, no family dinners, vacations are spent with everyone doing their own thing, they're not unified at all. Obviously, this is not what all same named families are like, just like all families with different last names can very much be just like that. It just seems to me, if you rely on the last name to "make" yourself a family, there are more important priorities. (I realize noone has stated that this is the only way to be a family, but it kind of seems like for a few, it's one of the most important parts of making a family.)

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We obviously live in different areas Sherri!

Probably about half of the mums in our school have different names from their kids, or at least double barrelled.

I think about a third of kids in Australia are born of parents who aren't married - so for a start all of those mums wouldn't have changed their names. Isn't it a similar figure in the US?

Sherri - posted on 06/01/2012

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Here honestly I have never known anyone in real life that didn't take their husbands last name. It isn't something that has ever gone "out of fashion" as you say Jakki. I actually have my kids class lists that lists kids, parents, phone #'s etc. and not one child on all 3 lists has a child on it with a different last name as their parents. Actually we don't seem to have any divorced couples in any of the classes either.

I actually never would have bothered getting married if I didn't take my husbands last name and I know for a fact he wouldn't have married me without me taking his last name. It was honestly something I was so proud to do and I never would have ever had a different last name than my children and my husband feels the same way. My husband does in some ways own me and I own him just as much I guess if you have to word it that way. I don't find it archaic I find it special and an honor to have my married last name and be able to pass that on to my kids as well. We are all a joined union and part of that is us all carrying the same last name.

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Heather said: "I kept my name because I like it and the whole idea of assuming my husband's name is kind of archaic and weird to me. I just figure he wouldn't take my name so why would I take his. Frankly it bothers me that kids are given the dad's name almost as a matter of course. Is there a reason for it that isn't some relic of a less liberated yesteryear?"

I'm totally with you Heather.

For me the idea of changing your name belongs to the middle ages when a woman became her husband's property. It really upsets me. I'm distraught that it seems to be coming back in favour after a couple of decades of it being out of fashion.

Although we are married, our kids got my surname because I think that is fairer - after all, I carried them and gave birth to them and do the majority of child caring. My husband is OK with it although I know he was a bit awkward when his oldest mate heard about the situation and looked at him in that "oh my god you must be married to a ball-breaker" look.

We've got a handful of friends who also have given the kids the mum's name, so we don't feel like oddities in our area.

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Sounds like a nutjob! Hell, after 2 divorces and name changes, should I ever want to shoot myself in the ass and get married again - I AM NOT TAKING THE MAN'S NAME. Goodness knows it took me longer to change my name than I was actually married to them.

So yay 'maiden' name!

Jodi - posted on 06/01/2012

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"it is soooo confusing for kids and always having to explain that mom has a different name." I assure you, it is NOT confusing for kids. My 3 sisters and I all grew up with a mom who kept her maiden name. None of us were the least bit confused. It's absolutely no more confusing than explaining why your mom is black and your dad is white, or why you have 4 parents, or why you have 2 moms or 2 dads, or why you live with grandma. In fact, it's probably a LOT less confusing than that. It's fine to have your opinion, but from a personal standpoint...maybe a handful of kids get confused, but really it's not confusing at all for kids. None of my friends seemed confused by it either, many were curious why...but not confused.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 06/01/2012

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I wonder when I change my last name (in 3 years) and hyphenate it, if my husband will do it too....hmmmm

I bet I have a better chance at winning the Lotto but you know what? I am gonna start hinting on him now and maybe, just maybe he will like the idea in 3 years time (and since I am hinting, he will think it was his great idea!)...hehehee

Sherri - posted on 06/01/2012

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Would never have kept my maiden name, it seems so wrong to me. Part of being married to me meant taking my husbands name and all of us as a family unit having the same name. I agree with the lady it is soooo confusing for kids and always having to explain that mom has a different name. I find it hugely annoying to have parents with different names as their kids unless there is a remarriage but not to do it by pure choice. JMO.



My friends each took each others names so they hyphenated their last names. Now that idea I love.

User - posted on 06/01/2012

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I know someone whose husband changed his name to her surname. They both wanted to have the same name as each other, but she didn't want to become Rachel Rake! Maybe someone else I know, who ended up as Lucy Loose should have persuaded her hubby to do the same!

Jodi - posted on 06/01/2012

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Legal documents and everywhere else I'm Mrs. Maidenname. I seriously don't get offended if someone calls me Mrs. husband'slastname, but I will correct people. Kind of like if they got your first name wrong, most people would correct you.

I get the sentiment of wanting everyone to have the same last name, and even though I kept my maiden name we are The Husband'slastname Family, by majority rule! lol It works for us, and even with my name being different, I feel we are a really close family unit, I do sometimes wonder if changing my name would magically change things and make us even closer...but that's just kind of silly thinking! lol

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 06/01/2012

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I am Mrs, on legal documents and all documents, even though I still have my maiden name.



So, Mrs. maidenname...



Oh, I had asked my daughter and tried to get her to be willing to change her last name to my husbands but at age 13, she was far from interested. So, there was no way, I was going to force her to do that. It was just easier for me to keep the same last name as her, until my son goes to school.

Stifler's - posted on 06/01/2012

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Oh I meant on legal documents etc. not as in random people calling you mrs. so and so. One of Damos friends constantly calls me Mrs Nielson to pay out on me.

Jodi - posted on 05/31/2012

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I kept my name with my first marriage....I was Ms. or Miss. Although mostly, I'd rather people just call me by my first name.

But I can see the point about wanting to have the same last names sometimes. With my second marriage, I decided to change my name simply to make it less confusing for everyone, including both our kids from previous relationships. In all, before I changed my name, there were four different surnames in our blended family......By me changing my name, it at least reduced it to 3.

Stifler's - posted on 05/31/2012

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So when you keep your own last nasme you are referred to as Mrs. Maidenname rather than Mrs,. Hislastname? Or you're not Mrs.? I don't know because I barely know anyone who kept their own name.

Becky - posted on 05/31/2012

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I took my husband's last name. He wanted me too, and I just always assumed I would. It didn't bother me at all to do it. I really couldn't care less what someone else decides to do about their name. The only time it bothers me when a woman keeps her maiden name - and this is just silliness - is when I am doing a home assessment, because it is a major pain in the ass to have to type Mr. So and So and Mrs. Whatsherface every time, instead of being able to just type Mr. and Mrs. Name.

Stifler's - posted on 05/31/2012

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I didn't say you weren't. I said I wanted us all to have the same last name. People used to call me Mrs Nielson before we were even engaged.

Lady Heather - posted on 05/31/2012

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Ummm...we are a family unit too. Lulz. Names don't really make you a unit. No need for anyone to feel embarrassed either. I only get mad when my inlaws call me Mrs. Norrgard because they do it out of spite. I am always amused when people mistakenly call my husband Mr. Livingstone. Hehe.

Stifler's - posted on 05/31/2012

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I took my husbands name. We're a family unit, I like us all having the same last name. I don't really see either as wrong or right especially if you're a professional or run a business it would be easier to keep your own name so people know who you are.

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My mom didn't use a hyphen. I don't know why she didn't, but filling out forms was always a pain for me.

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Alot of people of that age think stupid stuff like that...but don't normally feel the need to ram it down your throat.

I can only imagine what she would have thought of ME. I was a single mum for 8 years and my son had my maiden name as i was not willing to give him his dads name (and im so glad i made that decision)

Anyway i got married 2 years ago and changed my name to my husbands name BUT I also changed my sons name to my husbands name (with my sons dads agreement) so we would all be the same. Then i had a baby which obviously has her dads name....a bit messy and confusing but the crazy lady that had a go at you would have had a field day with me !!!

At the moment i don't even wear my rings because they scratch my baby and my husband recently lost his....I would be more than slightly "confusing" to other people but do i give a shit...ummmm,nope.

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I changed mine, but I honestly couldn't care less what other do.



I changed it for several reasons that are all rather personal to ME and probably would not apply to anyone else. For one, my name was long due to having both a Tsalagi name and Anglican names (my mom's attempt at compromise) and if that wasn't long enough, she went back and added an Anglican given name too when I was 3 years old (which is Kelly, which I go by on here). So my name came out to be Kelly Ray Sa Wood Land King--Native American bracketed by two Anglican names! I was a sandwich! Anyway, you all know my history--I didn't feel especially connected to any part of my family and I was angry at my tribe at the time, so I kept my 2 given names (Kelly & Ray) because my mother gave them to me and I love her, Ray is also a name that has been passed down through many generations, so I kept my connection to her, and I dropped every thing else and took dh's last name, so I finally got a traditional 3 part name. I like it :)



Plus, my poor son--his name would have been outrageous. I would have wanted him to have MY name--after all, I birthed him--and dh would have wanted him to have his name, so our compromise would probably have been to give him both of our names, which would have come out Jacob Alan Sa Wood Land King Hazel. I think not.



And lastly, like many of you, I also like us all 3 having the same last name, it gives me a sense of camaraderie and belonging I didn't feel as a kid. I know it's just a name, and I would belong to our family just as much if we didn't share a name, but I like it.

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i changed it because my husband i old fashioned and said he would be insulted if i didn't take his last name. i don't think that a woman should have to so that is' not confusing for the kids. if a woman wants to change her name she can, if she doesn't then she shoulnt' have to

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 05/31/2012

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Johnny---The only thing that makes me wonder, is the hyphenated names. So if your parents hyphenated your name and you grow up as Jane Simonson-Jenkins, what happens when you meet a nice boy and want to get married and his name is Matt Battison-Wong. Is your kid going to walk around named Michael Simonson-Battison-Jenkins-Wong? Just something that I've always wondered.

OMG, I laughed my ass off with this. You know, this is very true. Thank goodness both my kids will have one, non-hyphenated name, even if I do decide to hyphenate mine. I honestly never ever thought of this and well, it is damn funny!

Johnny - posted on 05/31/2012

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What's with people? I changed my last name. I just liked the idea of us all having the same name, and I liked my husband's name better. He was open to hyphenating, but it would have sounded ridiculous. He was fine with me keeping my last name or even changing his. I just thought his was unique and I was tired of always being the first person in line because my name was at the start of the alphabet, lol. And I didn't feel like changing it would change me in anyway. My name had never been an "identifier" for me. It was just so common and blase.

But I could care less what other people decide. If you don't change it, change it, change the husband's name, pick a whole new name, take your names and smoosh them together (friends of mine actually did this, I think for laughs and for the ensuing "traditional family" hulabaloo that entertained us all at the wedding, her aunts were probably friends with the lady who berated you). The only thing that makes me wonder, is the hyphenated names. So if your parents hyphenated your name and you grow up as Jane Simonson-Jenkins, what happens when you meet a nice boy and want to get married and his name is Matt Battison-Wong. Is your kid going to walk around named Michael Simonson-Battison-Jenkins-Wong? Just something that I've always wondered.

When I went to the bank to change my name, i got a lecture from the lady that did it. Basically that I was "giving up my identity" and that when we got divorced it would make my life more difficult. Thanks for the vote of confidence bitch.

Krista - posted on 05/31/2012

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I know -- I can't believe that she was so rude as to lecture a total stranger like that! You should have said that society also has expectations that we not all act like rude, judgmental old bats. ;)

I changed my name when we got married. My husband didn't care either way -- he would have been fine with me keeping my maiden name. But I didn't have a major attachment to my maiden name. It's not like I had a long-standing professional reputation by that point. I didn't feel that it would change who I was. I was, frankly, just tired of everybody constantly mispronouncing and misspelling my last name. Plus I have a brother, so he'll likely carry on the family name.

It just wasn't a huge deal to me, I guess.

Elfrieda - posted on 05/31/2012

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I think she meant it would be so confusing to HER, not the kids. :)



I'm with Janice, I like that everybody in our family has the same name. I was only 22 when I got married, and I hadn't thought about things really, so I changed my name without really going through the implications. It was really complicated to do and I didn't really enjoy the feeling of basically erasing my "real" last name.



My thinking was that I didn't want to be that person who always says, "No, I'm Elfrieda so-and-so". I have to correct people constantly on my first name, I don't want to do it with my last name, too! It can be a little awkward, socially speaking. I also wanted our kids to have the same name as both of us to really mark us as a family. And lastly, I come from a big extended family all with the same last name. My dad has 5 brothers, and most of them live in the same area I grew up in. My cousins and I all had the same last name, we're pretty prominent in our community, and I didn't really feel like I was losing that connection if I gave it up officially to get married. (it turns out I was right. My husband has been called "James My-Maiden-Name" more than once. :)



One day I was mentioning to a friend that I had looked for her on facebook, but couldn't find her. And she said, "Oh, I kept my last name when I got married, I just go by my husband's name socially." I stared at her for a minute and then screamed, "You're a GENIUS!!" What an easy way to get around almost all of those problems!



The only sticking point is that I want to have the same last name as my children, and I want them to have their father's name, too. Hyphenating is so clunky, although it's the best solution I can think of. I'd probably do that if I were to get married as me now, instead of that younger me. My husband didn't give an opinion, because he sees the unfairness of the situation and told me it was totally my choice.



To answer your other question, no, it doesn't bother or annoy me if you keep your maiden name. I feel embarrassed if I get it wrong, but I'll get over it. :)

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 05/31/2012

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I kept my maiden name. I really don't "want" to change it because I, well, have had it for 36 years. However, my husband wasn't very happy but he survived. LOL



Mostly, though, my main train of thought is my children. Since I got married last year and my daugher was going on 13, I really thought it would be inappropriate, disrespectful and down right cruel of me to just up and change my last name on her. Since she has my last name (not her birth fathers, he isn't on the BC). I was seriously worried that she may feel a little disowned, if I did follow my husbands wishes and change it. The only problem is now I have my son and he does have Daddy's last name. So, I have one kid with my last name and the other with my husbands last name. It is a wee odd and it is confusing for some, like doctors.



Anyhow, I have decided that I will eventually probably take my husbands last name (probably hyphenate mine and his). I am going to wait until right before my son starts school. My daughter will then be going into grade 12 and be 17 years of age. I figure she would be OK with it by then and understand better, that I am not disowning her. Also, it would be good for my son, since I am the one that takes care of all the paper work, schooling and appointments, he would then have his Momma with the same last name, as him.



So, for me, I think I want to make sure I have the same last name as my children while they are in school and at their most impressionable times of their lives. However, with that said, I truly think it is an individual choice. If it wasn't for my son, I probably would never change it. I could be over analyzing my situation, like I often do. I still have 3.5 years before I have to make the choice. lol



Heather, that's funny about when a telemarketer calls. I do the SAME thing! Just opposite. My name is in the phone book, so they call and ask for my husband with my last name and I tell them "no one lives here with that name and they never will!" bahaha



Jodi---I can't believe someone (even if she was older) had the balls to say that to you. Goodness, the gall of some people!

Janice - posted on 05/31/2012

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I changed mine despite my father begging me to hyphenate it. I'm a bit traditional and simplistic - I like that we are the Coleman family and all have the same simple last name.
I really don't care what anyone else does. Sure it can sometimes be confusing when mom has never been married, has multiple kids with multiple daddies and every family member has a different last name. But 2 last names in one family is really no big deal. And think that woman's main issue was that she was old ;)

Lady Heather - posted on 05/31/2012

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Also you know what's funny? Most of my aunts kept their names too and it wasn't even common to do it then. My mum has her maiden name and five of my eight aunts have their maiden names. My sister kept hers. My stepsister kept hers. One cousin hyphenated, another kept hers. It's more normal to me than changing it.

My inlaws didn't see it that way. "what, you don't like our name?". So I'm like "what, you don't like MY name?".

Lady Heather - posted on 05/31/2012

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I kept my name because I like it and the whole idea of assuming my husband's name is kind of archaic and weird to me. I just figure he wouldn't take my name so why would I take his. Frankly it bothers me that kids are given the dad's name almost as a matter of course. Is there a reason for it that isn't some relic of a less liberated yesteryear? My kids have both our names and his is last for aesthetic reasons. But I'll be damned if I'm going to birth babies and not pass my name on to them.

If other women want to change then that's cool. It would be non-feminist to deny the choice. But it ain't for me. And no, it doesn't cause me problems having a different name from my husband and kids. Not even when traveling! Gasp! Bonus: when telemarketers call I don't even have to lie when they ask for Mrs. Norrgard. She isn't home and she never will be. Haha.

Maybe I would feel differently if my last name was something awful.

Jodi - posted on 05/31/2012

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For the record, my mom kept her maiden name when she married my dad...it was not confusing to me as a child. As for my reasons in keeping my maiden name, I just didn't see the point in changing it. Plus, it's really irritating when people talk about someone's wife and say "She used to be a so-and-so." No, she didn't...she still is! Had it been really important to my husband, I would have changed my name, but he could nto have cared less, so I kept my name. My 3 year old knows her and her sisters' last names, her daddy's last name and my last name, she doesn't seem the least bit confused...or even interested yet as to the "discrepency".

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