Last week, supermodel and Project Runway star Heidi Klum filed a petition to take the name of her husband, Seal.
The singer's full name is Seal Henry Olusegun Olumide Adeola Samuel.
No word on whether their oldest child, 5-year-old Helene "Leni" Klum -- who was legally adopted at birth by Seal but is the biological daughter of Klum's ex, Flavio Briatore -- will change her name as well. Their two sons, Henry Gunther Ademola Dashtu Samuel, 3, and Johan Riley Fyodor Taiwo Samuel, 2, already have Seal's last name, as does their baby daughter, Lou Sulola Samuel, who was born this morning (Oct. 13).
Like many women, I kept my name when I got married. Which means that I have a different last name than my children.
There are many reasons why I did it: I was in my 30s by the time I walked down the aisle, I already had a career in my own name, with a reputation and bylines and even a book. I owned my home and car and other things outright, and changing my name on all of those legal documents was a hassle.
The biggest reason why I kept my name, though, because it was my name -- I was used to it, and replacing it with my husband's made me feel like I was erasing my history, somehow.
But then I had kids. Well, more kids -- I married my stepkids the same day I married my husband. But my biological kids came a long a couple of years later, and as we talked about first names while I was pregnant, we talked about last names as well.
Make them Alphonses? Hyphenate? Use just my husband's? How would I feel about being "Ms. Alphonse" when everyone else in my family had a different last name?
We decided that they'd have two last names -- no hyphen -- which worked fine until the first time I took my daughter to the pediatrician, and they couldn't find her file because it wasn't with her older siblings'. So now they use just their dad's last name, like their big brother and sisters do. And I am the only Alphonse in my household.
I get called by my husband's last name all the time, and I don't make a fuss about it -- I kept my name because it was my name, not because it was a moral imperative.
Did you keep your name when you got married? Did your feelings about having done so change after you had children?
Lylah M. Alphonse is a Globe staff member and mom and stepmom to five kids. She writes about juggling career and parenthood at The 36-Hour Day and blogs at Write. Edit. Repeat. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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