Heidi Klum takes Seal's last name: Do you have the same name as your kids?

Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse  October 12, 2009 10:42 AM

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Klum%20and%20Seal.jpg
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 lalphonse@globe.com.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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47 comments so far...
  1. Clearly she has a big issue with names when she is compelled to give no less than 5 names to her children. Like royalty. What a joke.

    Thanks for your comment, Valerie, but I think you may not realize that having multiple first and middle names, while unusual in the US, is quite normal in other countries and cultures. Also: If you read the first part of the post, you'll see that her husband, who is of Brazilian and Nigerian descent -- has five names plus his last name. That likely has more to do with the way they've named their children than ideas of class or royalty. -- LMA

    Posted by Valerie October 12, 09 11:18 AM
  1. I have to admit I changed my last name when i got married in part to avoid having the same first and last name as a person who was in the news at the time, but also because I wanted my new family to share a name. But my feminist side has given it a lot of thought. Finally I decided I was no more a feminist for keeping my father's (that is, not my mother's name) than I would be by taking my husband's.

    I think hyphenating is problematic. To me, it is just deciding not to decide, and leaves the next generation with even tougher choices. What happens when Mary Momslastname-Dadslastname marries John Motherinlaw-Fatherinlaw? Do they name their kids Momslastname-Dadslastname-Motherinlaw-Fatherinlaw? At some point, someone has to choose. The work of future genealogists is going to be tricky!

    Posted by gastrogal October 12, 09 12:04 PM
  1. I waited 6 months to change my name after I got married. I changed my name when I got a new job. But even then I was still hesitant. It does feel like you lose part of your identity when you change your name. But now that I have a 2 year old and another on the way, I'm glad that I will share the same last name with my kids.

    But, as you say, there are many caveats to changing - my husband and I bought our house a few months before we got married. So the deed was in my maiden name. We just had the deed changed to my married name as we plan to refinance, and we had to hire a lawyer to do this which cost us $600.00! So, there are still outstanding issues we have deal with after changing my name more than 4 years ago!

    Posted by catch-22 October 12, 09 12:16 PM
  1. My mother kept her last name and I have my father's last name. As much as it made sense for my parents, it was horrible for me growing up. I got constant questions and confusion from other people, to the point I would only list my father as a parent/contact person on forms because it cut down on the hassel. The worst was when it came time to fill out financial aid forms for college. The system wasn't built to handle two parents with different last names living together (not divorced). Many hours of phone calls later and I finally received my financial aid, but it still makes me wish we were a one name family. Hopefully by the time these kids grow up things won't be as complicated.

    Posted by HuskyAlum October 12, 09 12:39 PM
  1. I have to agree somewhat with gastrogal, I don't feel I am any less a feminist for taking my husbands name. The reality is that more than likely it was some man's name to begin with so getting all worked up over that seemed silly to me. Additionally as much as I hate my first name that is where my identity is not my last name. People use my first name on a regular basis it is very rare that I am Ms.Lastname, so again no sense of lost identity there either.

    My husband likes the fact that I took his name but he felt it was ultimately my decision to make. And we are both pretty traditional so it all worked quite well for us.

    On a related note for those women that decide not to take their husbands name I have never understood why they have their child take the last name of the father rather than their last name? Is there a law or something that requires that if the father is known that his last name is used? It seems like an odd disconnect to me; breaking tradition to keep you last name but yet sticking with tradition to use the father's last name for the child. Perhaps there is a reason, perhaps it is simply preference, but I have yet to meet a person where the Mother kept her maiden name and the child had her name rather than the Father's name. I don't yet have children but have always been curious.

    Posted by WES October 12, 09 03:02 PM
  1. it's only a name for gosh sake. it speaks nothing as to who you are at any point in your life. i took my husband's name when we got married without even questioning it. our family has one name and I am happier now in my life than ever before and it has nothing to do with what our last name is. Worry about something real already.

    Posted by mamalove October 12, 09 04:14 PM
  1. I was conflicted about this. I got married 3 years ago, and my husband said he was ok with me keeping my last name...well, as it turns out, we both got hung up over it. I own property, and am known professionally by my maiden name. When we got married, one of my siblings said to me...."oh, you're not one of those women!" And, my husband has let it be known over time that he really would like me to be Mrs. X.

    Having kids has made me see the practicality of having one name. I'm sure it can be a pain, as HuskyAlum noted, having parents with different last names. For all intents and purposes, I answer to Mrs. X when I am out with my husband. However, legally I am not Mrs. X yet. I will change it before my kids start school, but I have to make sure I have $ to pay a lawyer to change the deed on my property...or maybe I can hit hubbie up for that??? (evil grin)

    I feel like I am caving in a bit to pressure, but on the other hand, can see the difficulty that non-divorced parents with separate names can create. One woman I worked with grew up in a family with 2 different names, and she mentioned it was a challenge, especially for her mom, who retained her maiden name.
    I wish it wasn't like this, and people would be more accepting of spouses with different last names, but I know in the long run, there are far more important things to spend my time on---like making sure I have happy and healthy kids, and we have a roof over our heads!!

    PS--I never even wanted to consider the hypenated option. Too many letters!! I don't want to do that to my kids.

    Posted by mlm October 12, 09 04:29 PM
  1. I'm a hyphen. I chose to hyphen because I adore my husband, severely dislike his family, and have a very close relationship with my own family. I also kept the two middle names my parents gave me, making my full legal name 10 syllables. Our daughters have his last name, and only one middle name each. I grew to love my unique name, but growing up, I was the wierd one with 2 middle names, and I didn't want that for them.

    Doctors, banks, insurance, and vital records know my full name, but the community and the cable company know me by my husband's last name. I'm fine with that. My oldest (4) knows I have a different last name, and that doesn't bug her at all.

    My mom and dad married in 1973, and she took his name. She didn't really want to, but at the time my dad really objected to the idea. Last year, 35 years into the marriage, my mother changed her name back to her maiden name. By now, it didn't really bother my dad.

    Posted by Ashley October 12, 09 05:03 PM
  1. I recently married and took my husband's last name for the same reason - I want my whole family to have the same last name. If we weren't planning to have children, perhaps I would feel differently.
    I don't see anything wrong with not changing your name, but I agree with a previous poster that hyphenating seems indecisive. Did you want to keep your name or not?? Make up your mind.

    Posted by Fram October 12, 09 05:48 PM
  1. Valerie, as LMA indicated, the names are a cultural tradition, not some "big issue with names". My children's father is from the same culture as Seal, and my children have 3 middle names. So, please, before you cast judgment, consider that there are cultural traditions that figure into the naming of children. There may also be a matter of royalty in Seal's family in that tribal royalty is still considered in Nigerian culture.


    Posted by littleflower77 October 12, 09 05:50 PM
  1. This was a simple question for me: take the name of the man I chose to be my husband or keep the name of the man I did not choose to be my father. However, I know people for whom the question was more complicated. One friend of mine, who was adopted, chose to keep her adoptive family's name when she married, and also gave that name to her three children because she wanted her blood relatives to have the same name she did. So her husband has a different name from his wife and kids. Another couple I know had horrifically abusive childhoods, so they both dumped their family names and legally changed their names to one of their own choosing when they married.

    Posted by Ashley October 12, 09 08:12 PM
  1. In my family, I don't know a single female who kept their maiden name. This doesn't mean that our female ancestors disappeared or were forgotten - we still value our history on all sides of the family. But our tradition has always been to take our husband's name. I like the ease of having one name for the family. I see it as forming a new partnership, a cohesive team. And really, truth be told, my maiden name was nothing to write home about, and I am too lazy to hyphenate. One name for us! But people who are more particular/less lazy may think otherwise. Just let me know what you want to be called, and give some thought to your kids. If your last name is Czyczywski-Josephovska-Slovanovich, your kids will be 12 before they learn to spell it all...

    Posted by BMS October 12, 09 10:53 PM
  1. I loved the way Seal named his children. At a glance, it tells u a lot about them.

    You figure out that they probably have Nigerian, German, Brazilian, and maybe English ancestors.

    Heidi's decision 2 take her hubby's name is okay.

    Posted by J.lo October 13, 09 02:37 AM
  1. Why is this such a big deal? We have the luxury of choice, and everyone has their own reasons for making the choice they do. Why does it matter *why* people make their choices? Why can't people just respect that it's a choice and move on?

    Posted by akmom October 13, 09 09:56 AM
  1. It is very easy, you keep your last name when you marry. You are not a blood relative of your husband. Your kids should have father/mother last names, when your daughter marries she keeps her last name when she has kids, her kids should have father/mother last name and so on and so on.

    Posted by Lourdes October 13, 09 10:03 AM
  1. WES, I actually do have a friend who kept her own name and their child has her last name. But your point is well taken, she's obviously in the minority.

    I kept my own name when I got married for many reasons, which included that I had built my personal and professional identity around my name, and that I married a man of a different ethnicity and wished to keep the link to my own ethnicity. Frankly, changing my name just never seemed like an option to me.

    My kids have my husband's last name and I think it has become much more common and people are more comfortable with the idea that family members may have different names. Do I sometimes wish we had the "family unit" connection? Sure. But I have never had anyone give so much as a double take that my last name and my children's is not the same.

    Posted by anita October 13, 09 10:08 AM
  1. It wasn't until I went looking for a new job that I felt comfortable using my husband's name. He would've been upset if I had kept my maiden name. It was initially weird going from my maiden name to my new one - after all, I'd been "me" for 33 years. But I got used to it.

    Posted by qbqt October 13, 09 10:20 AM
  1. Either Anita knows me ;) or I'm not unique.
    I didn't take my husband's name, he didn't take mine, and the kids have my name.
    It's never been a problem.

    Posted by Lizzie October 13, 09 11:41 AM
  1. I am so surprised I'm the only woman posting so far that feels it's highly unfair to expect women to changes their names when so many state that they only reason for doing so is so that the whole family will have one name. Then WHY NOT TAKE THE MOTHER'S LAST NAME, husband included????

    Well, men probably have the same issues that I'd expect women to have. They feel attached to their names, they have a professional reputation to think of, it would be a hassle to change. ALL VALID REASONS FOR KEEPING YOUR NAME. Please, women, don't shortchange yourselves, and don't fool yourselves into thinking you did it for ease. You did for tradition's sake, and if you did so, please admit it.

    I didn't change my name and my kids have hyphenated names. We've never had a problem at school or with official documents. Please, it's the 21st century. If someone or some agency can't wrap their head around it, it's their problem, not ours. Besides, I know at least five other families with hyphenated names. No problems that I've heard of so far.

    And my children know that if they'd like to only go by one name when they get older, they can choose to do so. No feelings will be hurt in this nontraditional family!

    Posted by incredulous woman October 13, 09 11:42 AM
  1. I changed my last name when I married because I thought it would be simpler for us and the kids to have the same name. However, my husband is from S. America and I wish we used that system. Everyone is named "first-name dad's-last-name mom's-last-name", although you mostly just use the dad's last name every day. When a woman marries she adds "de husband's-last-name" to the end. I like it b/c you get to keep all your names and the family relationships are very clear, such as the mom's relationship to the kids. Now when we visit his country people are confused b/c we have the same last name.

    Posted by Enna October 13, 09 11:48 AM
  1. 'incredulous' (#20) - my father was an alcoholic bigot. I hated him. I changed my name because I wanted to sever the connection as completely as possible (he died long before I got married). I respect that others choose not to change their names, and expect that respect in return.

    Posted by akmom October 13, 09 11:56 AM
  1. Funny, I was just having a conversation about this with my sister in law. She and my brother have two kids and are in the process of adopting a school age son. The adoption won't be complete for almost a year and until that time, the boy will have a different name than the rest of the family. Our conversation was around the school directory - under the parent section, she's going to put just her name, and not include my brother. Basically, she's looking to avoid questions that are none of anyone elses business, and having a mother with a different last name than a child raises fewer questions than having a father with a different last name.
    She was saying that she wishes sometimes that she had kept her maiden name. I went back and forth a bit myself when I got married 17 years ago, and decided to change to my husband's name. I figured it would be simpler when we had children, plus, it was easier to spell and I got away from a lot of repetitive letters.

    Posted by MAP October 13, 09 12:07 PM
  1. I think that since women risk their lives to give birth, the kids should always have the mom's names. Who is the one the school calls first? The mom. Who is the one the doctor's office calls first? The mom.

    Women bare the children and, no matter how active the dads are in raising their kids, women are still considered the primary point of contact and caregiver.

    It just doesn't make sense to me that kids( and entire families)wouldn't take the mom's name. Remember, you always know who the mother is. Isn't it weird that--technically speaking--you have to have a paternity test to be 100% accurate on who the father is...yet the name defaults to his?

    Long before my friend ever got engaged, she asked her boyfriend, "Would you change your name if we got married?" He said no.

    Her response, "Since I feel marriage is an equal partnership, why should you expect me to do something that you are unwilling to do yourself?" And yes. They are married now.

    Remember, just because something is "tradition" doesn't mean it's right...especially since women weren't the ones who made the rules on this one (oh, and women were legally considered the property of their husbands, which is why they took their last names).

    Posted by beantownbaklava October 13, 09 01:03 PM
  1. In most spanish speaking cultures people always have to last names, and women keep their name when they marry. For example my father John P. Jones Smith married my mother Jane M. Brown White and had me Sarah E. Jones Brown (Jones is my "paternal last name" and Brown is my "maternal last name). Its just how it is, noone thinks its so weird as its the norm. I actually love knowing that my name is made up of both my parents.

    Posted by EEEE October 13, 09 01:26 PM
  1. Not only did I choose to change my name when I married, I kept my first husband's name after our divorce. Then two years later changed my name again when I married my current husband.

    My reason for choosing this were that I hated the surname I was born with, and ease of use once children came along.

    My decision was reaffirmed by my latino husband, who often had problems before our marriage with people misfiling his documents under his maternal surname. When I married him, we both changed our names... we both adopted his paternal surnamed only. One name for the whole family, and things are rarely misfiled.

    Posted by HollyP October 13, 09 01:40 PM
  1. When I got married, I added my birth name to my middle name and legally took my husband's last name, but in many circumstances I go by both names together (they're both one syllable and easy to say and spell). I was a single mom, so my oldest son has my birth name and the other kids have my husband's last name. It's confusing the first time people get to know our family but people get it and move on. We've never had issues with people being totally stumped, messing up records, etc. and I think at least half of the families I know have more than one last name in the mix for any number of reasons so it's not a big deal at all.

    Posted by Jen October 13, 09 01:57 PM
  1. I loved changing my name to match my husbands. Our children will share in the name, because it is our family name now. As much as I loved my last name, I love my new name just as much.

    I think its a choice. I just find it easier to be Mrs.

    Posted by Sabs October 13, 09 02:54 PM
  1. I am keeping my name I do not belong to anyone. Why do women have to change their name are we still second class

    Posted by Ann Marie October 13, 09 02:58 PM
  1. #22 - I completely respect your decision to change your name. I hope you did so as soon as you were legally able to do so. That does not however equate with the highly out-of-date expectation that women should change their names upon marriage and not the other way around.

    Posted by incredulous woman October 13, 09 03:08 PM
  1. My mother kept her maiden name, and I have my father's name, but unlike HuskyAlum (I was too, at both UConn and Northeastern, both are Huskys), I never had an issue with financial aid, or anything else for that matter. I actually enjoyed explaining that my mom was a hippie in the 70s when she married my father and kept her last name. She jokes that when I get married, I should take her last name!

    This recently has been an issue between my boyfriend and myself. I'm with incredulous on this one. He says it is compromise if I take his name. I say it is compromise if I keep it and don't ask him to take mine. For those of you who didn't have a loving relationship with your father or family, I understand, but I'm very close with my family and see my last name as a connection to them. I also love my last name. My boyfriend says it is "tradition" since I'm joining his family.

    I'd love to know if anyone else has faced this issue with their husband/fiance, and how you best "compromised."

    Posted by MaidenName October 13, 09 03:30 PM
  1. I changed to my husband's name even though I did not get married until my mid-thirties and have investments, etc in my maiden name.
    Frankly, I changed mostly because the new last name is FAR EASIER for people to spell and pronounce. I live in an area of the country where people are not familiar with ethnic last names like my maiden. I have to correct peoples' spelling of my first name all the time, so at least now I don't have to spell my last name too, LOL.

    I do still have at least two things in my maiden name...my driver's license and my frequent flyer miles. The license is just in case I need to prove I am THAT person with THAT maiden name. I have other government identification in my married last name so both are helpful in their own ways.

    On my resume I use my maiden name as my middle name just in case, for when they call references, so people know who I am.

    Posted by Elisssssssabeth October 13, 09 03:41 PM
  1. I guess if it doesn't bother me, taking my husband's last name by choice, why should it bother someone else?

    Posted by BMS October 13, 09 08:50 PM
  1. I knew I wasn't going to completely give up my name when I got married. I figured I wouldn't change it at all, but I didn't feel strongly. My husband told me that he'd like it if I'd hyphenate if it didn't really matter to me. I really hated the new name. Signing with it, seeing in on mail, etc...it just didn't feel like me. I changed it back to my birth name 2 weeks after the wedding. I feel so much better. I really felt like a different person with the new name, and I felt that I was of second importance in this new married life. My husband hasn't minded that my name was changed back, he wants me to be happy. I'm only 23, and a scientist, and having a different name from my spouse is actually pretty normal in the science community. We plan on having my name as our kid's second middle name and his name as the last name. I think it's important for the kids to have his last name because mother/child bond is so strong due to pregnancy/nursing/hormones/etc and I think having the child and father not sharing a last name would perhaps make it harder for the father to feel a bond.

    Posted by Ashley October 13, 09 09:53 PM
  1. I really wanted to have the same last name as my husband, so when we got engaged, I asked him if we both could use the hyphenated name (my name-his name, each two syllables). One reason I love this guy is that he truly doesn't seem to have anything to prove about being "a man," and I strongly suspected he would agree immediately without having to think about it, which is exactly what he did. We will not be having children, but if we did, any daughters would take my name alone, with his name as a middle name, and any sons would take his name alone, with my name as a middle name. I think this is a system that is both fair and easily usable by anyone who wants to do so.

    Posted by 10,000 Stars October 13, 09 10:24 PM
  1. Sorry but it makes no sense to have all these different names for one family. Come on people! you are making the lives of your children more difficult! the same thing with Jrs and 2nds and 3rds etc! You are setting yourselves and your children up for a lifetime of aggravation!!

    Posted by jadee October 14, 09 08:38 AM
  1. I kept my own name, never gave it a second thought. I respect whatever anyone decides to do - it's such a personal choice. If I have children, I will give the girls my name and the boys his name. As good a system as any.

    Posted by elliesgirl October 14, 09 09:08 AM
  1. I changed my last name 3 years after marriage, right after the birth of my daughter. Like the author, I had a writing career complete with published books in my name, and it didn't feel right to change it then. I've never been a fan of hypens, and the two last name scenario is a bit of an organizational nightmare (learned the hard way after a disaster at the publishing house I worked at could not locate an author's files because it was unclear which last name to put her under).

    Ultimately, I did it for my child. I wanted to make things as simple for her as possible growing up. But a part of me was ready to leave behind my usually mispronounced German name meaning 'cross-eyed' for a nice, simple Irish name.

    Posted by eleanorsmom October 14, 09 09:13 AM
  1. I like your solution 10,000 Stars. Before my husband and I had kids, we had a big debate about the name thing. We both briefly considered changing our names to something different from either of our given names. But that didn't make sense career-wise. So we decided to keep our names and hyphenate kids' names, but perhaps if would have been easier to just pick one or the other by gender, birth order, etc. I think the decision should be thoughtfully made and equitable. There wouldn't be an issue after all if the traditional scheme was equitable. It's not, and now we have to make it up as we go along!

    Posted by just1voice October 14, 09 09:22 AM
  1. It isn't "just a name" mamalove. Your name connects you to important things in life, including major accomplishments. I am sure you would not want your name to be Lucifer! Most people, especially women struggle with this decision for all of those reasons mentioned above. Also, if you have lost people in your life, you are more likely to cling to your name (whatever that may be) in honor of them, unless you didn't like them. Again, "mamalove", you didn't call yourself devilspawn - a name isn't just a name. Heidi and Seal have a nice way of naming their family, it is nice to have meaningful names to carry on through their children. Interesting that you criticize names, but you don't sign with your real one!

    Posted by Michelle Smith Norton October 14, 09 09:40 AM
  1. In other countries it is the norm for women to keep their name, which I think is very forward thinking. When I got married I wanted to take my husbands last name for the sake of having the same last name as my children. He disagreed at first because it was not tradition for him. But for me to take his was tradition for me. He tells me now if it makes me happy that he would be fine if I changed my name to his. What a dilema. It's common in the US for people to think your parents are divorced or were never married if you and your children have different last names. I ended up keeping my name because I didn't feel ready to give it up quite yet. Now we have a daughter and she has her fathers last name, I have my maiden name still. I love her no matter what our names are. I guess I haven't really decided what I want and it isn't set in stone. For now I will keep mine if I change my mine I can do that too. I am proud that I even have a choice as a woman, a hundred years ago we wouldn't even be discussing this.

    Posted by Lilah'smom23 October 14, 09 09:42 AM
  1. I live in Spain, where everybody, men and women, married and unmarried, has the same first name and last name for life. In fact, Spanish people have two last names: first name + dad's last name (space, no hyphen) + mom's last name. So the child of Señor Pérez Calderón and Señora García Martín will be named ____ Pérez García. Both mom and dad are represented in the equation.
    It's an interesting system.

    Posted by HG October 14, 09 09:51 AM
  1. I was born into a family of such extreme dysfunction and was so desperate to be done with them that I changed my last name when I turned 18. No regrets.

    When I was 22 I had a baby with a man I was not married to although we decided to raise our child together. Our daughter was given her father's last name for no reason other than simplifying the issue of health insurance coverage and child support should the relationship not work out. No regrets, really, although it did become more of an issue when she was old enough to go to school.

    When I finally married my daughter's father, I took his name. Why? I was tired of explaining (and providing documentation to prove I was her mother) to school administrators, doctors, insurance representatives etc. why my daughter and I didn't have the same last name. We have 3 kids now and we all have the same last name. Turns out I'm a bit of a traditionalist after all...I like that our family is labeled as such by our shared last name.

    If you don't want to take your husband's name, don't. But I don't understand why some of the comments about women who do take their husband's name are so rude. Why does it matter to anybody what a family decides works best for them?

    Posted by Kate October 14, 09 10:49 AM
  1. 31, sure you are joining his family but isn't he joining yours? I'm with you on your definition of compromise. You should do what you are comfortable with, but I have to say it really bugs me when men pressure their wives to change their names. A friend of mine who didn't want to change her name changed it under pressure from her husband who said it was a symbol of her commitment. What? The commitment you are making to each other is til death do you part -- how you choose to call yourself after you make that commitment is gravy. What does he care if you change your name or not?

    Posted by sara October 14, 09 11:12 AM
  1. I have to point out that the women who are asserting their womanhood by keeping "their" last names, are usually keeping their father's last names. My husband is latino, and, like HG, I am familiar with the tradition of each partner keeping their two last names for life. But let us remember that the two last names are the father's last name, and the mother's-father's last name. When the couple has a child, he or she will have dad's father's last name and mom's father's last name. Ultimately the mothers names are lost. And for formal social occasions, Spanish women use the prefix "de" plus their husband's last name, which firmly implies ownership. I think I'd rather just be plain old "Mrs."

    PS - is anyone else bothered by the "childcaring" blog being assigned to the "moms" section of the website? What does this say about male caregivers!

    Posted by gastrogal October 14, 09 12:36 PM
  1. why is it such a big deal if women keep their names or hyphenate? my father died long before I married and i chose to keep my name because it is my family name and i am proud of it. as for when people say you aren't a family if you don't share a last name...c'mon really? a family is about love and mutual bonds, not names. Change your name if you want to but it doesn't make people who chose differently any less of a family.

    Posted by proud of my name October 14, 09 12:51 PM
  1. "I live in Spain, where everybody, men and women, married and unmarried, has the same first name and last name for life. In fact, Spanish people have two last names: first name + dad's last name (space, no hyphen) + mom's last name. So the child of Señor Pérez Calderón and Señora García Martín will be named ____ Pérez García. Both mom and dad are represented in the equation.
    It's an interesting system."

    In such a situation, what happens when "____ Peréz García" marries? Say for example it's a woman who marries John Smith, what would her name be after marriage since she already has two last names? Just curious!!

    Posted by Fram October 14, 09 04:25 PM
  1. I think that most women that simply refuse to take their husband's last name have control issues. Deep down inside they are probably lesbians. Every person I know(unfortunately too many) that has a different last name or a hyphenanted last name says its a big pain in the rear to constantly explain why and fill out simple forms. Too bad their mothers were trying to be trendy and didnt care about all the frustrations their kids would have to deal with. Almost as annoying as the ant-vaccine mothers.

    Posted by ryana October 16, 09 01:08 PM
 
47 comments so far...
  1. Clearly she has a big issue with names when she is compelled to give no less than 5 names to her children. Like royalty. What a joke.

    Thanks for your comment, Valerie, but I think you may not realize that having multiple first and middle names, while unusual in the US, is quite normal in other countries and cultures. Also: If you read the first part of the post, you'll see that her husband, who is of Brazilian and Nigerian descent -- has five names plus his last name. That likely has more to do with the way they've named their children than ideas of class or royalty. -- LMA

    Posted by Valerie October 12, 09 11:18 AM
  1. I have to admit I changed my last name when i got married in part to avoid having the same first and last name as a person who was in the news at the time, but also because I wanted my new family to share a name. But my feminist side has given it a lot of thought. Finally I decided I was no more a feminist for keeping my father's (that is, not my mother's name) than I would be by taking my husband's.

    I think hyphenating is problematic. To me, it is just deciding not to decide, and leaves the next generation with even tougher choices. What happens when Mary Momslastname-Dadslastname marries John Motherinlaw-Fatherinlaw? Do they name their kids Momslastname-Dadslastname-Motherinlaw-Fatherinlaw? At some point, someone has to choose. The work of future genealogists is going to be tricky!

    Posted by gastrogal October 12, 09 12:04 PM
  1. I waited 6 months to change my name after I got married. I changed my name when I got a new job. But even then I was still hesitant. It does feel like you lose part of your identity when you change your name. But now that I have a 2 year old and another on the way, I'm glad that I will share the same last name with my kids.

    But, as you say, there are many caveats to changing - my husband and I bought our house a few months before we got married. So the deed was in my maiden name. We just had the deed changed to my married name as we plan to refinance, and we had to hire a lawyer to do this which cost us $600.00! So, there are still outstanding issues we have deal with after changing my name more than 4 years ago!

    Posted by catch-22 October 12, 09 12:16 PM
  1. My mother kept her last name and I have my father's last name. As much as it made sense for my parents, it was horrible for me growing up. I got constant questions and confusion from other people, to the point I would only list my father as a parent/contact person on forms because it cut down on the hassel. The worst was when it came time to fill out financial aid forms for college. The system wasn't built to handle two parents with different last names living together (not divorced). Many hours of phone calls later and I finally received my financial aid, but it still makes me wish we were a one name family. Hopefully by the time these kids grow up things won't be as complicated.

    Posted by HuskyAlum October 12, 09 12:39 PM
  1. I have to agree somewhat with gastrogal, I don't feel I am any less a feminist for taking my husbands name. The reality is that more than likely it was some man's name to begin with so getting all worked up over that seemed silly to me. Additionally as much as I hate my first name that is where my identity is not my last name. People use my first name on a regular basis it is very rare that I am Ms.Lastname, so again no sense of lost identity there either.

    My husband likes the fact that I took his name but he felt it was ultimately my decision to make. And we are both pretty traditional so it all worked quite well for us.

    On a related note for those women that decide not to take their husbands name I have never understood why they have their child take the last name of the father rather than their last name? Is there a law or something that requires that if the father is known that his last name is used? It seems like an odd disconnect to me; breaking tradition to keep you last name but yet sticking with tradition to use the father's last name for the child. Perhaps there is a reason, perhaps it is simply preference, but I have yet to meet a person where the Mother kept her maiden name and the child had her name rather than the Father's name. I don't yet have children but have always been curious.

    Posted by WES October 12, 09 03:02 PM
  1. it's only a name for gosh sake. it speaks nothing as to who you are at any point in your life. i took my husband's name when we got married without even questioning it. our family has one name and I am happier now in my life than ever before and it has nothing to do with what our last name is. Worry about something real already.

    Posted by mamalove October 12, 09 04:14 PM
  1. I was conflicted about this. I got married 3 years ago, and my husband said he was ok with me keeping my last name...well, as it turns out, we both got hung up over it. I own property, and am known professionally by my maiden name. When we got married, one of my siblings said to me...."oh, you're not one of those women!" And, my husband has let it be known over time that he really would like me to be Mrs. X.

    Having kids has made me see the practicality of having one name. I'm sure it can be a pain, as HuskyAlum noted, having parents with different last names. For all intents and purposes, I answer to Mrs. X when I am out with my husband. However, legally I am not Mrs. X yet. I will change it before my kids start school, but I have to make sure I have $ to pay a lawyer to change the deed on my property...or maybe I can hit hubbie up for that??? (evil grin)

    I feel like I am caving in a bit to pressure, but on the other hand, can see the difficulty that non-divorced parents with separate names can create. One woman I worked with grew up in a family with 2 different names, and she mentioned it was a challenge, especially for her mom, who retained her maiden name.
    I wish it wasn't like this, and people would be more accepting of spouses with different last names, but I know in the long run, there are far more important things to spend my time on---like making sure I have happy and healthy kids, and we have a roof over our heads!!

    PS--I never even wanted to consider the hypenated option. Too many letters!! I don't want to do that to my kids.

    Posted by mlm October 12, 09 04:29 PM
  1. I'm a hyphen. I chose to hyphen because I adore my husband, severely dislike his family, and have a very close relationship with my own family. I also kept the two middle names my parents gave me, making my full legal name 10 syllables. Our daughters have his last name, and only one middle name each. I grew to love my unique name, but growing up, I was the wierd one with 2 middle names, and I didn't want that for them.

    Doctors, banks, insurance, and vital records know my full name, but the community and the cable company know me by my husband's last name. I'm fine with that. My oldest (4) knows I have a different last name, and that doesn't bug her at all.

    My mom and dad married in 1973, and she took his name. She didn't really want to, but at the time my dad really objected to the idea. Last year, 35 years into the marriage, my mother changed her name back to her maiden name. By now, it didn't really bother my dad.

    Posted by Ashley October 12, 09 05:03 PM
  1. I recently married and took my husband's last name for the same reason - I want my whole family to have the same last name. If we weren't planning to have children, perhaps I would feel differently.
    I don't see anything wrong with not changing your name, but I agree with a previous poster that hyphenating seems indecisive. Did you want to keep your name or not?? Make up your mind.

    Posted by Fram October 12, 09 05:48 PM
  1. Valerie, as LMA indicated, the names are a cultural tradition, not some "big issue with names". My children's father is from the same culture as Seal, and my children have 3 middle names. So, please, before you cast judgment, consider that there are cultural traditions that figure into the naming of children. There may also be a matter of royalty in Seal's family in that tribal royalty is still considered in Nigerian culture.


    Posted by littleflower77 October 12, 09 05:50 PM
  1. This was a simple question for me: take the name of the man I chose to be my husband or keep the name of the man I did not choose to be my father. However, I know people for whom the question was more complicated. One friend of mine, who was adopted, chose to keep her adoptive family's name when she married, and also gave that name to her three children because she wanted her blood relatives to have the same name she did. So her husband has a different name from his wife and kids. Another couple I know had horrifically abusive childhoods, so they both dumped their family names and legally changed their names to one of their own choosing when they married.

    Posted by Ashley October 12, 09 08:12 PM
  1. In my family, I don't know a single female who kept their maiden name. This doesn't mean that our female ancestors disappeared or were forgotten - we still value our history on all sides of the family. But our tradition has always been to take our husband's name. I like the ease of having one name for the family. I see it as forming a new partnership, a cohesive team. And really, truth be told, my maiden name was nothing to write home about, and I am too lazy to hyphenate. One name for us! But people who are more particular/less lazy may think otherwise. Just let me know what you want to be called, and give some thought to your kids. If your last name is Czyczywski-Josephovska-Slovanovich, your kids will be 12 before they learn to spell it all...

    Posted by BMS October 12, 09 10:53 PM
  1. I loved the way Seal named his children. At a glance, it tells u a lot about them.

    You figure out that they probably have Nigerian, German, Brazilian, and maybe English ancestors.

    Heidi's decision 2 take her hubby's name is okay.

    Posted by J.lo October 13, 09 02:37 AM
  1. Why is this such a big deal? We have the luxury of choice, and everyone has their own reasons for making the choice they do. Why does it matter *why* people make their choices? Why can't people just respect that it's a choice and move on?

    Posted by akmom October 13, 09 09:56 AM
  1. It is very easy, you keep your last name when you marry. You are not a blood relative of your husband. Your kids should have father/mother last names, when your daughter marries she keeps her last name when she has kids, her kids should have father/mother last name and so on and so on.

    Posted by Lourdes October 13, 09 10:03 AM
  1. WES, I actually do have a friend who kept her own name and their child has her last name. But your point is well taken, she's obviously in the minority.

    I kept my own name when I got married for many reasons, which included that I had built my personal and professional identity around my name, and that I married a man of a different ethnicity and wished to keep the link to my own ethnicity. Frankly, changing my name just never seemed like an option to me.

    My kids have my husband's last name and I think it has become much more common and people are more comfortable with the idea that family members may have different names. Do I sometimes wish we had the "family unit" connection? Sure. But I have never had anyone give so much as a double take that my last name and my children's is not the same.

    Posted by anita October 13, 09 10:08 AM
  1. It wasn't until I went looking for a new job that I felt comfortable using my husband's name. He would've been upset if I had kept my maiden name. It was initially weird going from my maiden name to my new one - after all, I'd been "me" for 33 years. But I got used to it.

    Posted by qbqt October 13, 09 10:20 AM
  1. Either Anita knows me ;) or I'm not unique.
    I didn't take my husband's name, he didn't take mine, and the kids have my name.
    It's never been a problem.

    Posted by Lizzie October 13, 09 11:41 AM
  1. I am so surprised I'm the only woman posting so far that feels it's highly unfair to expect women to changes their names when so many state that they only reason for doing so is so that the whole family will have one name. Then WHY NOT TAKE THE MOTHER'S LAST NAME, husband included????

    Well, men probably have the same issues that I'd expect women to have. They feel attached to their names, they have a professional reputation to think of, it would be a hassle to change. ALL VALID REASONS FOR KEEPING YOUR NAME. Please, women, don't shortchange yourselves, and don't fool yourselves into thinking you did it for ease. You did for tradition's sake, and if you did so, please admit it.

    I didn't change my name and my kids have hyphenated names. We've never had a problem at school or with official documents. Please, it's the 21st century. If someone or some agency can't wrap their head around it, it's their problem, not ours. Besides, I know at least five other families with hyphenated names. No problems that I've heard of so far.

    And my children know that if they'd like to only go by one name when they get older, they can choose to do so. No feelings will be hurt in this nontraditional family!

    Posted by incredulous woman October 13, 09 11:42 AM
  1. I changed my last name when I married because I thought it would be simpler for us and the kids to have the same name. However, my husband is from S. America and I wish we used that system. Everyone is named "first-name dad's-last-name mom's-last-name", although you mostly just use the dad's last name every day. When a woman marries she adds "de husband's-last-name" to the end. I like it b/c you get to keep all your names and the family relationships are very clear, such as the mom's relationship to the kids. Now when we visit his country people are confused b/c we have the same last name.

    Posted by Enna October 13, 09 11:48 AM
  1. 'incredulous' (#20) - my father was an alcoholic bigot. I hated him. I changed my name because I wanted to sever the connection as completely as possible (he died long before I got married). I respect that others choose not to change their names, and expect that respect in return.

    Posted by akmom October 13, 09 11:56 AM
  1. Funny, I was just having a conversation about this with my sister in law. She and my brother have two kids and are in the process of adopting a school age son. The adoption won't be complete for almost a year and until that time, the boy will have a different name than the rest of the family. Our conversation was around the school directory - under the parent section, she's going to put just her name, and not include my brother. Basically, she's looking to avoid questions that are none of anyone elses business, and having a mother with a different last name than a child raises fewer questions than having a father with a different last name.
    She was saying that she wishes sometimes that she had kept her maiden name. I went back and forth a bit myself when I got married 17 years ago, and decided to change to my husband's name. I figured it would be simpler when we had children, plus, it was easier to spell and I got away from a lot of repetitive letters.

    Posted by MAP October 13, 09 12:07 PM
  1. I think that since women risk their lives to give birth, the kids should always have the mom's names. Who is the one the school calls first? The mom. Who is the one the doctor's office calls first? The mom.

    Women bare the children and, no matter how active the dads are in raising their kids, women are still considered the primary point of contact and caregiver.

    It just doesn't make sense to me that kids( and entire families)wouldn't take the mom's name. Remember, you always know who the mother is. Isn't it weird that--technically speaking--you have to have a paternity test to be 100% accurate on who the father is...yet the name defaults to his?

    Long before my friend ever got engaged, she asked her boyfriend, "Would you change your name if we got married?" He said no.

    Her response, "Since I feel marriage is an equal partnership, why should you expect me to do something that you are unwilling to do yourself?" And yes. They are married now.

    Remember, just because something is "tradition" doesn't mean it's right...especially since women weren't the ones who made the rules on this one (oh, and women were legally considered the property of their husbands, which is why they took their last names).

    Posted by beantownbaklava October 13, 09 01:03 PM
  1. In most spanish speaking cultures people always have to last names, and women keep their name when they marry. For example my father John P. Jones Smith married my mother Jane M. Brown White and had me Sarah E. Jones Brown (Jones is my "paternal last name" and Brown is my "maternal last name). Its just how it is, noone thinks its so weird as its the norm. I actually love knowing that my name is made up of both my parents.

    Posted by EEEE October 13, 09 01:26 PM
  1. Not only did I choose to change my name when I married, I kept my first husband's name after our divorce. Then two years later changed my name again when I married my current husband.

    My reason for choosing this were that I hated the surname I was born with, and ease of use once children came along.

    My decision was reaffirmed by my latino husband, who often had problems before our marriage with people misfiling his documents under his maternal surname. When I married him, we both changed our names... we both adopted his paternal surnamed only. One name for the whole family, and things are rarely misfiled.

    Posted by HollyP October 13, 09 01:40 PM
  1. When I got married, I added my birth name to my middle name and legally took my husband's last name, but in many circumstances I go by both names together (they're both one syllable and easy to say and spell). I was a single mom, so my oldest son has my birth name and the other kids have my husband's last name. It's confusing the first time people get to know our family but people get it and move on. We've never had issues with people being totally stumped, messing up records, etc. and I think at least half of the families I know have more than one last name in the mix for any number of reasons so it's not a big deal at all.

    Posted by Jen October 13, 09 01:57 PM
  1. I loved changing my name to match my husbands. Our children will share in the name, because it is our family name now. As much as I loved my last name, I love my new name just as much.

    I think its a choice. I just find it easier to be Mrs.

    Posted by Sabs October 13, 09 02:54 PM
  1. I am keeping my name I do not belong to anyone. Why do women have to change their name are we still second class

    Posted by Ann Marie October 13, 09 02:58 PM
  1. #22 - I completely respect your decision to change your name. I hope you did so as soon as you were legally able to do so. That does not however equate with the highly out-of-date expectation that women should change their names upon marriage and not the other way around.

    Posted by incredulous woman October 13, 09 03:08 PM
  1. My mother kept her maiden name, and I have my father's name, but unlike HuskyAlum (I was too, at both UConn and Northeastern, both are Huskys), I never had an issue with financial aid, or anything else for that matter. I actually enjoyed explaining that my mom was a hippie in the 70s when she married my father and kept her last name. She jokes that when I get married, I should take her last name!

    This recently has been an issue between my boyfriend and myself. I'm with incredulous on this one. He says it is compromise if I take his name. I say it is compromise if I keep it and don't ask him to take mine. For those of you who didn't have a loving relationship with your father or family, I understand, but I'm very close with my family and see my last name as a connection to them. I also love my last name. My boyfriend says it is "tradition" since I'm joining his family.

    I'd love to know if anyone else has faced this issue with their husband/fiance, and how you best "compromised."

    Posted by MaidenName October 13, 09 03:30 PM
  1. I changed to my husband's name even though I did not get married until my mid-thirties and have investments, etc in my maiden name.
    Frankly, I changed mostly because the new last name is FAR EASIER for people to spell and pronounce. I live in an area of the country where people are not familiar with ethnic last names like my maiden. I have to correct peoples' spelling of my first name all the time, so at least now I don't have to spell my last name too, LOL.

    I do still have at least two things in my maiden name...my driver's license and my frequent flyer miles. The license is just in case I need to prove I am THAT person with THAT maiden name. I have other government identification in my married last name so both are helpful in their own ways.

    On my resume I use my maiden name as my middle name just in case, for when they call references, so people know who I am.

    Posted by Elisssssssabeth October 13, 09 03:41 PM
  1. I guess if it doesn't bother me, taking my husband's last name by choice, why should it bother someone else?

    Posted by BMS October 13, 09 08:50 PM
  1. I knew I wasn't going to completely give up my name when I got married. I figured I wouldn't change it at all, but I didn't feel strongly. My husband told me that he'd like it if I'd hyphenate if it didn't really matter to me. I really hated the new name. Signing with it, seeing in on mail, etc...it just didn't feel like me. I changed it back to my birth name 2 weeks after the wedding. I feel so much better. I really felt like a different person with the new name, and I felt that I was of second importance in this new married life. My husband hasn't minded that my name was changed back, he wants me to be happy. I'm only 23, and a scientist, and having a different name from my spouse is actually pretty normal in the science community. We plan on having my name as our kid's second middle name and his name as the last name. I think it's important for the kids to have his last name because mother/child bond is so strong due to pregnancy/nursing/hormones/etc and I think having the child and father not sharing a last name would perhaps make it harder for the father to feel a bond.

    Posted by Ashley October 13, 09 09:53 PM
  1. I really wanted to have the same last name as my husband, so when we got engaged, I asked him if we both could use the hyphenated name (my name-his name, each two syllables). One reason I love this guy is that he truly doesn't seem to have anything to prove about being "a man," and I strongly suspected he would agree immediately without having to think about it, which is exactly what he did. We will not be having children, but if we did, any daughters would take my name alone, with his name as a middle name, and any sons would take his name alone, with my name as a middle name. I think this is a system that is both fair and easily usable by anyone who wants to do so.

    Posted by 10,000 Stars October 13, 09 10:24 PM
  1. Sorry but it makes no sense to have all these different names for one family. Come on people! you are making the lives of your children more difficult! the same thing with Jrs and 2nds and 3rds etc! You are setting yourselves and your children up for a lifetime of aggravation!!

    Posted by jadee October 14, 09 08:38 AM
  1. I kept my own name, never gave it a second thought. I respect whatever anyone decides to do - it's such a personal choice. If I have children, I will give the girls my name and the boys his name. As good a system as any.

    Posted by elliesgirl October 14, 09 09:08 AM
  1. I changed my last name 3 years after marriage, right after the birth of my daughter. Like the author, I had a writing career complete with published books in my name, and it didn't feel right to change it then. I've never been a fan of hypens, and the two last name scenario is a bit of an organizational nightmare (learned the hard way after a disaster at the publishing house I worked at could not locate an author's files because it was unclear which last name to put her under).

    Ultimately, I did it for my child. I wanted to make things as simple for her as possible growing up. But a part of me was ready to leave behind my usually mispronounced German name meaning 'cross-eyed' for a nice, simple Irish name.

    Posted by eleanorsmom October 14, 09 09:13 AM
  1. I like your solution 10,000 Stars. Before my husband and I had kids, we had a big debate about the name thing. We both briefly considered changing our names to something different from either of our given names. But that didn't make sense career-wise. So we decided to keep our names and hyphenate kids' names, but perhaps if would have been easier to just pick one or the other by gender, birth order, etc. I think the decision should be thoughtfully made and equitable. There wouldn't be an issue after all if the traditional scheme was equitable. It's not, and now we have to make it up as we go along!

    Posted by just1voice October 14, 09 09:22 AM
  1. It isn't "just a name" mamalove. Your name connects you to important things in life, including major accomplishments. I am sure you would not want your name to be Lucifer! Most people, especially women struggle with this decision for all of those reasons mentioned above. Also, if you have lost people in your life, you are more likely to cling to your name (whatever that may be) in honor of them, unless you didn't like them. Again, "mamalove", you didn't call yourself devilspawn - a name isn't just a name. Heidi and Seal have a nice way of naming their family, it is nice to have meaningful names to carry on through their children. Interesting that you criticize names, but you don't sign with your real one!

    Posted by Michelle Smith Norton October 14, 09 09:40 AM
  1. In other countries it is the norm for women to keep their name, which I think is very forward thinking. When I got married I wanted to take my husbands last name for the sake of having the same last name as my children. He disagreed at first because it was not tradition for him. But for me to take his was tradition for me. He tells me now if it makes me happy that he would be fine if I changed my name to his. What a dilema. It's common in the US for people to think your parents are divorced or were never married if you and your children have different last names. I ended up keeping my name because I didn't feel ready to give it up quite yet. Now we have a daughter and she has her fathers last name, I have my maiden name still. I love her no matter what our names are. I guess I haven't really decided what I want and it isn't set in stone. For now I will keep mine if I change my mine I can do that too. I am proud that I even have a choice as a woman, a hundred years ago we wouldn't even be discussing this.

    Posted by Lilah'smom23 October 14, 09 09:42 AM
  1. I live in Spain, where everybody, men and women, married and unmarried, has the same first name and last name for life. In fact, Spanish people have two last names: first name + dad's last name (space, no hyphen) + mom's last name. So the child of Señor Pérez Calderón and Señora García Martín will be named ____ Pérez García. Both mom and dad are represented in the equation.
    It's an interesting system.

    Posted by HG October 14, 09 09:51 AM
  1. I was born into a family of such extreme dysfunction and was so desperate to be done with them that I changed my last name when I turned 18. No regrets.

    When I was 22 I had a baby with a man I was not married to although we decided to raise our child together. Our daughter was given her father's last name for no reason other than simplifying the issue of health insurance coverage and child support should the relationship not work out. No regrets, really, although it did become more of an issue when she was old enough to go to school.

    When I finally married my daughter's father, I took his name. Why? I was tired of explaining (and providing documentation to prove I was her mother) to school administrators, doctors, insurance representatives etc. why my daughter and I didn't have the same last name. We have 3 kids now and we all have the same last name. Turns out I'm a bit of a traditionalist after all...I like that our family is labeled as such by our shared last name.

    If you don't want to take your husband's name, don't. But I don't understand why some of the comments about women who do take their husband's name are so rude. Why does it matter to anybody what a family decides works best for them?

    Posted by Kate October 14, 09 10:49 AM
  1. 31, sure you are joining his family but isn't he joining yours? I'm with you on your definition of compromise. You should do what you are comfortable with, but I have to say it really bugs me when men pressure their wives to change their names. A friend of mine who didn't want to change her name changed it under pressure from her husband who said it was a symbol of her commitment. What? The commitment you are making to each other is til death do you part -- how you choose to call yourself after you make that commitment is gravy. What does he care if you change your name or not?

    Posted by sara October 14, 09 11:12 AM
  1. I have to point out that the women who are asserting their womanhood by keeping "their" last names, are usually keeping their father's last names. My husband is latino, and, like HG, I am familiar with the tradition of each partner keeping their two last names for life. But let us remember that the two last names are the father's last name, and the mother's-father's last name. When the couple has a child, he or she will have dad's father's last name and mom's father's last name. Ultimately the mothers names are lost. And for formal social occasions, Spanish women use the prefix "de" plus their husband's last name, which firmly implies ownership. I think I'd rather just be plain old "Mrs."

    PS - is anyone else bothered by the "childcaring" blog being assigned to the "moms" section of the website? What does this say about male caregivers!

    Posted by gastrogal October 14, 09 12:36 PM
  1. why is it such a big deal if women keep their names or hyphenate? my father died long before I married and i chose to keep my name because it is my family name and i am proud of it. as for when people say you aren't a family if you don't share a last name...c'mon really? a family is about love and mutual bonds, not names. Change your name if you want to but it doesn't make people who chose differently any less of a family.

    Posted by proud of my name October 14, 09 12:51 PM
  1. "I live in Spain, where everybody, men and women, married and unmarried, has the same first name and last name for life. In fact, Spanish people have two last names: first name + dad's last name (space, no hyphen) + mom's last name. So the child of Señor Pérez Calderón and Señora García Martín will be named ____ Pérez García. Both mom and dad are represented in the equation.
    It's an interesting system."

    In such a situation, what happens when "____ Peréz García" marries? Say for example it's a woman who marries John Smith, what would her name be after marriage since she already has two last names? Just curious!!

    Posted by Fram October 14, 09 04:25 PM
  1. I think that most women that simply refuse to take their husband's last name have control issues. Deep down inside they are probably lesbians. Every person I know(unfortunately too many) that has a different last name or a hyphenanted last name says its a big pain in the rear to constantly explain why and fill out simple forms. Too bad their mothers were trying to be trendy and didnt care about all the frustrations their kids would have to deal with. Almost as annoying as the ant-vaccine mothers.

    Posted by ryana October 16, 09 01:08 PM
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About the author

Barbara F. Meltz is a freelance writer, parenting consultant, and author of "Put Yourself in Their Shoes: Understanding How Your Children See the World." She won several awards for her weekly "Child Caring" column in the Globe, including the 2008 American Psychological Association Print Excellence award. Barbara is available as a speaker for parent groups.

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