Keeping Your Name but Not Giving It to Your Kids

Updated on March 25, 2013
L.N. asks from Fort Myers, FL
45 answers

I know at least ten women who kept their last name when they got married. But then when they had kids, every single one of them, gave their kids their husband's last name. Why is this? I just don't get it...why would you bother to keep your name if you are not going to pass it on to your kids? If I kept my name, I would want to pass it down to my kids as a hyphenated name..(but I didn't want to bother with that so that is why i just took my husband's name).
I mean, it just seems really depressing to keep your last name but then be the odd one out in your family, with a different last name than your husband and kids...
Can anyone explain this to me???

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I kept my name because I didn't become a different person when I got married. I'm still me, and my name is my name.

Trust me, I don't need to have the same last name as my kids to know that they are mine and to feel attached to them - I definitely don't feel like 'the odd one out' in any way. The kids don't think anything of it - they understand that they have the same last name as their daddy just like I have the same last name as my daddy.

And it's so common now that schools, teachers, etc, don't think anything of it. It hasn't caused any confusion for us at all.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

There are women that keep their last name for professional reasons, rather than a desire to pass it down to their children. The name keep is often for a practical reason, not an emotional one.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Louisville on

Hey Dana - just so you know, there was a guy that took his wife's last name - and they gave him major fits about it - so far as to not renew his license! He had to fight, but he did get it done with her last name as his! Seems there isn't a law to stop a man from taking the wife's last name - it's all just assumed!

(it was on the internet maybe a month or so ago - if I find it, will link it)

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I kept my last name because is is my NAME. I have had it for 47 years. It is the name I am known by professionally as well. Why would I change it? As far as my son goes, I didn't want a hyphenated name - our two names together would be quite a mouthful. I suppose we could have simply flipped a coin to decide which surname he would use. But it honestly didn't seem worth the hassle of dealing with all the people who seem to obsess about details like this.

I don't find having my name to be depressing. It is the same name as my parents and siblings have. And actually my mom (who is 75) wishes she had kept her name - but it just wasn't done 50 years ago. She does use her maiden name as her middle name. I do not use my husband's last name 'socially' - I use my name and I will correct someone (nicely) - just like I would correct them if they misheard my first name. I do not start going by the name 'Jane' just because someone heard my name incorrectly. 'Pleased to meet you, and it's Dr X, not Mrs Y - but please just call me D.".

ETA - do you think your husband would have an issue if you asked him to give up his name and take yours? I bet he would - ask him to explain it to you.

ETA: The French have actually given up the honorific Mlle (mademoiselle) - the honorific Madame now includes both married and single women. Kind of like Monsieur doesn't indicate marital status. Which is honestly - nobody's business.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

Why is it "depressing?" You do realize that there are actual serious things that people get depressed over, right? And that Depressive Disorder is a serious health problem? Please don't minimize very real issues with something so trivial. This is something that Women's Rights has addressed time and time again. Women get to CHOOSE what they want to do. Women can marry or not. Women can choose to take their partner's surname when they marry or not. Women and their partners can choose a brand new surname together when they marry if they want. And even if they're really bad baby namers, they can name their children almost anything they want and give them almost any surname that they want in any combination they want with their partner's agreement.

How is ANY of this "depressing?"

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

So glad to read Dana's response -- because thats pretty much mine as well.

My name is MY name. I kept it because I'm still me, married or not -- not for professional reasons or any political statement or anything else. I have no need to "pass it on". I have a need to be me. My kids have my husband's surname because hyphenating his & mine would be way too long & awkward-sounding.

I don't feel "the odd one out" in our family at all. In fact, I think some times my husband may, since we have 4 daughters and, though he has a good relationship with each of them, there are things I just "get" better. Also, we're closer to my (rather large) family than we are to his, which is much smaller.

I remember my boss questioning my choice when I married. He said our kids would be confused. Actually, since it's what they've grown up with it's not at all confusing to them -- but has caused a few others a couple of minutes of confusion. Oh, well.

I always introduce myself by both first name & surname and, if I'm introducing my husband to acquaintances of mine, I use his full name in introducing him. Sometimes, people use his last name for me or my last name for him. Neither one of us sweats it.

By the way, we've been married well over 20 years and the whole name thing has never been an issue for us or our kids. And as long as it's not an issue in our family, what difference does anyone else's opinion make?

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

Most people I know who kept their maiden name did the same thing. I kept mine for work when I married, but when we had kids, I decided I wanted to stay home and I also wanted us all to have the same name, so I made my maiden name my middle name, added my husband's as my last name, and we all shared my husband's name. It was emotionally hard to give up my own name, but that's the society we live in.

That being said, I think families do what works for them. What is incomprehensible to you is perfectly reasonable to others.

(ps, just a thought... the three question marks makes you sound indignant and outraged at the choices of others in my opinion. I'm sure that's not how you want to come across...)

5 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Because hyphenating kids names is stupid? So you have a daughter and she is Girl Smith-Jones. She gets married, keeps her last name, marries a guy with stupid parents as well, Boy Rodger-Bogart. So now their poor kids are Kid Smith-Jones-Rodger-Bogart.

Can you just imagine the fights about which names to eliminate?

Your last name is your family name and like it or not that runs from your father's side so your kids last name is their fathers last name. Doesn't help that the only people I know who did hyphenate their kid's names did it for all the wrong reasons and the kids hated it so much they just chose to only use their dad's last name and piss off mom.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Kept my name because it was mine. It honored my family and it was better for me professionally. I gave my last name to my oldest child as a middle name. Other than that I was OK with the kids having his last name. It comes from a long line of patriarchal methods of proving a child belongs to a man and I was pretty sure they were mine. (kidding, ladies, gentle jest)

Really, their last name did not matter to me and it mattered to him. I don't feel odd person out. Usually, around the kids' school I get called Mrs kid's last name and I answer. It is not important to me. The kids now are starting to enjoy correcting people at school.

Yesterday we had a great discussion at DDs school over why men's honorific title does not indicate their marital status and women's does and should not. I not only kept my name, I go by Ms. And do wish more women would.... So, hey let's talk about that instead.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Well, because it's America and that's what Americans normally do. My kids don't have a problem with me keeping my maiden name. They even call me by my maiden name. I don't think they've met anyone who goes by their mother's name when the dad is at home with them.

So, I guess the answer to your question is that society lets me keep my maiden name, but society expects my kids to have Daddy's last name.


4 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

I kept my last name bc I had just finished grad school and as a scientist I have journal articles and different papers and my thesis published under my name. I did not want to change my name. Granted I was 29 when I got married and bc of growing up with bitterly divorced parents. I spent pretty much my entire 20s thinking marriage was a sham and that piece of paper means nothing. My now husband and I lived together 7 years back then. Then I slowly matured. We finally got married. We had kids. If I were to marry now I would probably take his last name or hyphenate my name. You know how young people have very strong convictions...that is how I was then. My kids both have my last name as their middle name. It makes an awesome middle name, by the way! I don't find it depressing at all. I don't feel like the odd one out. I don't really define our family by our last names.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Probably because they have been in some kind of profession (i.e. doctor) for some time and changing their name would be more of a hassle. Or it's just such a strong part of their identity and don't feel the need to take on their husband's name just because they are a woman. But giving your child a hyphenated name is kind of a hassle too. I ended up hyphenating my last name because I didn't want to totally change it and give up my maiden name, but I wanted to take my husband's name in some way too, to show that we are a united family. Our daughter got hubby's last name - it didn't even occur to me to hyphenate her name, I just figured it's enough for her to learn to spell and write her name for school when she is 4, why make it more complicated?

Everyone has their own personal reasons for doing what they may seem odd to you, but to them it's what makes the most sense and feels right. Why find it depressing or let it get to you? To each their own.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I kept my last name because I like it. I've gone through many, many changes in the past decades, but I've always had my name. It's always been mine. My identity is caught up in it, and in becoming a mother and then a wife, I didn't much want to let it go.

My birth children have/will have their fathers name. It suits them well, and sounds nice with their names. It's important to my husband, and to his father, and I don't need my children to have my name.

My niece has her birth father's last name. There's not much we can do about it, even if we wanted to.

So in our house, we have three last names, but it's never made much difference. It's a mouthful at the airport, but oh well, we have bigger fish to fry - really. After all, a name doesn't make a family - not in our case at least.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I kept my last name. (It's a better last name. My husband joked that he wanted to take my name, but that didn't happen.) The girls both have my husbands last name. My first daughter has my last name as her middle name. I wanted to do that with the second as well, but we ended up using my husband's preferred first name as the middle name for her. (I got my way for the first name.)

Can't explain it. Culturally it was going to be less of an issue for the girls to take his name. If they want to change their names later to my last name, I think both my husband and I would support that decision. It doesn't make us less of a family.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I agree with the responses below. When I do private tutoring, which is, in polite terms, "an investment," I am more often than not working with wealthy families. In most of these families, both parents have high-powered careers (business owners or executives, doctors, attorneys, etc.) and the mom has a different last name from her husband and children, presumably in part because she was already established in her profession before marrying. I've just learned to call everyone by his or her first name to avoid using the incorrect last name, but I notice it when I get e-mails and phone calls that have caller ID. My sister owns her own business and kept her unmarried name while her children have her husband's last name. No big deal, and she does not feel left out.

I was single when I had my oldest son so he still has my unmarried name and most people who know me through him call me "Mrs. Maiden Name" which is fine by me. I probably get called that name 50% of the time. That's really my mother's name but there's no point in correcting it. I did take my husband's last name when we married and added my unmarried name to my middle name (so I have two middle names) but that was mostly because he has a really, really cool last name LOL. Our kids also have his last name and it's no big deal. I answer to both names.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Because, in this country, traditionally kids take their dad's last name. And most people simply have no problem with that. Those that choose differently are free to name their children anything they want.

I guess my name is just my name - I don't attach any special powers to it. My sense of pride and belonging don't come from my name. And I've got more important things to worry about than this particular social "cause".

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

I have a couple of friends who kept their last names because it is the name they are known by professionally. They are Dr. Smith, but also answer to Mrs. Jones. The children took the fathers names. I kept my last name as a middle name, and my children have their fathers last name. I would not saddle myself or a child with a huge long hyphenated last name.

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answers from Columbus on

My last name is and will always be mine, it’s my family’s last name (not my husband’s) and no matter who I’m with or not, it will remain the same; that said, I come from a country where we legally must have both, paternal and maternal last names and not just our dad’s and I wish it was the same here, but since my kids are also registered back in my country, there they have both last names also.
To me, my last name is part of my identity, background and origin and would not change it for my husband’s last name, although at some point I use to hyphenate for legal documents; I’m now back to only my last name.
BUT, you have to do what feels right for YOU and if its important to you to have the same last name as your kids, then change it to your husband's last name.

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answers from Miami on

The women that I know who have kept their last name typically did so because all of their professional licensure was in their maiden name. Most used their husband's last name socially and all gave their children their father's last name.

When I got married my husband and I had this conversation because I had several degrees and certifications in my maiden name. I reached out to my licensing board about changing my name it was a freaking process! At that time, I was very early into my career and not "established" under my maiden name, so I did the paperwork and 8 months after our wedding... had new papers with the new name.

If I had been older and more established under my maiden name I would not have changed it. I would, however, have given my children his name because that is our "family name" and hyphenated names are very long depending on the names you are hyphenating. For my children, their last name would have been 20 letters long. That's just mean!

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answers from Seattle on

1) Usually its professional

2) Their last name IS THEIR father's last name, makes total sense for kids to have their dad's last name, just like she does

3) Comes from a culture where parents keep their last names

4) Comes from a matrilineal culture (men change their last name, kids take on moms last name... One thing about mateilineage... Never any q about maternity!), but lives here, so is blending cultures

5) Aesthetic reasons.... Loves her husband, not his name. They choose non awful names for their kids

- Duplicate - Kelly Kelly/ McKenzie MacKenzie/ Shae O'Shay/ etc.
- Famous/infamous - Barbara Bush / Angelina Jolie / Andrea Yates/ etc.
- Rhymes - Dawn Johns/ Lisa Meeza/ Sarah Ohara
- Joke - Ivana Mandic, Anne Teak, Lee King, Jaqueline Daniels

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dover on

The ones that I know who have done this have established professional careers such as a doctor or an established business where their name is well known. I also know a doctor who changed her's when she got married.

The only other thought I can think of us she wants to keep her name/her identity (she was born Suzy Jones and will always be Suzy Jones but she's still Mrs. Smith even if she keeps her maiden name). The kids would have their dad's last name (just as Suzy does).

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I think *most* men in 2012 are "enlightened" enough to be OK with it if the wife does not want to take their name. But it is still social custom here that the child takes the fathers last name. Most men I know would NOT be OK with the child taking the mothers name only.

I personally dont like hyphenated (sp??) names. Its fine for the adult involved who choses to do it that way, but sucks for the kids. Here is an example: My good friend Eric has a hyphenated last name. Green-Smith. Eric Green-Smith. Green from his mom, and Smith from his Dad. Not a big deal for him most of his life. Now he is grown and married. So his wife is supposed to now be a Green-Smith? She was like "heck no, if I am going to deal with a hyphenated last name, ONE of those names better be mine!!" (and I think she has a great point!) So do they go with Green-Smith-Murphy now? Then their kids get 4 names when they marry? Seems like it would get out of control! My friend now goes by Smith as do the kids, and only hubs uses Green-Smith. We never know how to address things to their household though :)

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answers from Chicago on

It's just tradition. Is your last name given to you from your mother or father? If it is from your father, do you think your mother is depressed about it?

I changed my last name after I got married, and I must admit that I was a little sad about it. But I got over it. My maiden name is now my middle name. Now that we have kids, it is nice for all of us to have the same last name. It signifies the fact that we are a family unit.

In Chinese families, the wife keeps her last name, but gives the children their father's last name. I heard an idea (from Dear Abby's column?) that male children should get their father's last name, and any female children should inherit their mother's last name. I think this sounds like a good (if not confusing) compromise.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

I've never heard of this - interesting. I don't think I would want to send my kids to school with different last names so that everyone would think I was divorced. Seems confusing.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

I kept my name because I am fond of it and it had been my name all my life--didn't even have my degree or publications yet, which would have perhaps been the professional reason to keep it. My husband didn't come from a country with a tradition of the woman becoming 'Mrs. Husband name', so he didn't expect me to change it. He did want the kids to have his last name, however. I tried to argue for hyphenated last name, but in the hospital, exhausted from LONG induction and a low birthweight boy who didn't want to nurse, I decided it just wasn't worth it. Also, it didn't make sense to give a long/complicated last name to a kid who already was going to have a middle name that no one could pronounce. We then just gave his little sister the same last name as her brother and father. I'm fine with being the only one in the house with my last name--I like being called by who I am, and I'm not terribly concerned about having my birth family's last name represented in the next generation. I've got more important things to pass on, such as our family history, values, our ethnic identity, our faith (which my parents and grand-parents didn't practice). The last name is way down the list.

Yes, it does confuse people occasionally that my name isn't the same as the kids (such as my son's very polite friend who called me by his last name or the Girl Scout troop leader who knew my name and assumed that our daughter had the same one. THAT was funny!). Back to your first question... why give the kids the name of their father? Because that's the tradition in our society and part of saying the father acknowledges he is their daddy! Hope this helps...

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I agree that if you are going to use a hyphenated name, then the kids' names should be hyphenated as well. Although, a friend of mine's 1st last name is "Muggli," so he had the unfortunate experience of being called "Ugly Muggli." I think his mom should have just gone with the dad's last name for that one ;-)

ETA: But, names aren't that big of a deal for me. My husband and his sister have a different last name than BOTH of their parents. In Arabic culture, the children's last name is their paternal grandfather's FIRST name, so every generation has a different last name than the previous. We didn't do that with our kids, though--it'd be too confusing in American culture.

In Korea the woman keeps her name, but the kids get the father's name. I was so confused when I met a Dr.Kim and her kids' last name was Cheigh.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Women keep their own names due to professional reasons, or not feeling that they are passed from one man to another. They wish to keep their family name, but feel that the last name is a paternal lineage. Different people do different things. Some give their kids the hyphenated last name, some give the mother's last name as a middle name (I know many of these), some give just one parent's last name to all the kids, and I know a couple of couples where one kid has the father's last name and one has the mother's last name. It's all personal choice. If a mother keeps the last name of her father, he is not the father of her children, so if you're going through the traditional paternal thing, they wouldn't get that last name. It's all from the old days when men owned all the property and that's how the inheritances worked. People can give their kids whatever last name they want.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I couldn't do it either, I needed to have the same last name as my kids! I did NOT want to take my husband's name so I ditched my middle name and moved *my* last name over to my new middle name.

My only regret is that I didn't hyphenate and then give *my* last name to my kids...but my husband is SO NOT a hyphenate type of guy!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

I kept my name when I married, but also added on my Husband's name. With NO hyphen.
Adding a hyphen to it, makes the last name, an entirely different name. Thus, you have to change all your paperwork to reflect that name change.
Since I don't have a hyphen between my 2 last names, I can still legally use either name. or both. Because it has no hyphen.

I kept my last name, because... per our family history, it is a historically significant name. And my Dad has no sons... for his name to be carried on with. I wish my kids also had my last name.... too. But they only have my Husband's last name.
But, they know that they can if they want to, add on my last name too when they are old enough. Since no one else, besides me, is carrying on my family name.
My kids know, the significance of my family's last name and history.

I don't feel the odd one out in the family.
Why should I?
And my kids have NO confusion about it whatsoever. Because, there is no confusion about it.
They know perfectly well, why I kept my maiden name as well.
And if one day I am not around... they need to carry on our family legacy and name.

Also, the last name used upon marriage or with children, is cultural as well. For example: in the Japanese culture, a man MAY take a woman's last name upon marriage, if there is no one else in her family to carry on the name. This is highly unusual, but it is done.

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answers from Amarillo on

I just dumped my response.

My friend had a daughter and she carries her dad's name. She later had a son and he carries her last name because there were no boys in her family to carry on the name. So they are known as Ms. X, daughter Y, son X and dad Y. She does use her name in business so it seems to work well - everyone knows who she is.

When I got married I changed my maiden name to my middle name. Hubby put on the mailbox Mr. and Ms. I still go by Ms and we will be married 42 years this year.

It is a cultural thing in this country more than anything. A man gets to "claim" a wife and kids as they all have his last name - the unit.

the other S.



answers from Chicago on

I'd gladly get rid of my maiden name except my husband's last name is very commonly used. I do not have much in this world but I do have good credit and want to keep it that way. One mis- entry of my SSN, I am on the hook for someone else's unpaid bills. I have seen it happen firsthand with Davis, Smith, Wilson, et cetera.

And no, I don't find it at all depressing. I feel more a part of my husband's family with a different last name than I do with the family whose name I share.



answers from Washington DC on

Friend said she wanted her name b/c it was her name and she'd grown up with it, but just like her father had given her his name, she had no issues with her kids having their father's name as well. She didn't want to hyphenate and if they want her name when they are older, she'll help them do so through the court (it's not hard to do as an adult). I gave my DD two last names because there are no sons on my mom's side to pass it on through. It's not hyphenated, though, so that she doesn't have to use all of it. It is also common in Hispanic families for there to be both last names used.

I rarely had the same last name as my mom and my stepkids don't have the same last name as their mom. Never been a problem.



answers from Dallas on

I have only known a few that have kept their last names and mostly it's been because they became a perfessional before they got married and they are more well known by their madin name. Some will do two last names but that ends up being more confusing for the kid a lot of times. Because divorce is so previlent there are lots of moms with different last names than their kids.



answers from San Francisco on

I kept my name, because it's my name, but I gave my husband's last name to my kids. The primary reason is this: he has a nicer last name than mine. There are some surnames that should never be passed on, such as the ones in this link:
like Knipl and Butz. Mine's not bad, it's just boring.

Also, IMO, males are more ego-driven and sensitive than females, and I think many males would feel shut out if the kids bore their wife's last name instead of theirs. Males need as many things to bond them to their kids as possible, and if you don't believe that, remember that the divorce rate is approx. 50%, and most kids are primarily cared for by their mothers. Dads often opt out of the picture entirely -- I know quite a few personally who have done so in the past few years, if you don't agree with my bleak perspective on males.

Therefore, male egos need to be stroked by giving their children their last names. The benefits of having an involved male in a child's life outweigh the need for fairness or hyphenation. If you want to hyphenate though, go for it.



answers from Mayaguez on

The american way is that women take The husband name, but in The latín world is not like that. I altas keept my family name, actually we all have 2 lástima names, The fathers first last name and the mother first last name. And is not complicated every body has 2 last names Pérez González is mine. And when my Kids were born my husband last names Ducos Bello so my Kids are Ducos Pérez. Of course when thy have Kids they only pass to their Kids The first but I will always be their Mom they carry my last name forever.

In The american way you become other person, other family, you loose your identity, you belong to a man and take his last name. For me this is not rigth, your husband is not your father so why changing your name. Un less you hate your father, there is no real reason to change The name that your parents gave you when you were born. And maybe, I have seen that Manu people are starting to use 2 last names using a -.

For example my niece Washington born in USA and my brother gave her last name Pérez-Gil adding my sister in law last name.

Think about it for a moment of you need too people to make a baby why they should only have one last name?



answers from Kansas City on

I kept my last name (no hyphen) when I married and have never regretted it. It's who I am. :)

But...we hyphenated our son's last name on the birth certificate and I didn't realize what a pain that would be.

My husband is not very fond of his family and did NOT want our son to have his last name, just mine. But, I felt that was disrespectful - our son is the child of both families - and that it would be nice to legally have his father's name as well. Plus, at some point my husband could reconcile with his family and feel bad about his initial decision.

So we agreed our son would have a hyphen on the birth certificate but just "go" by my last name. Well...every time I fill out a form for school or the doctor's office or activity enrollment I feel compelled to put his full legal last name. So that is what they are teaching him to learn/recognize/spell in preschool. I never thought to mention to just use the first part. The cat's out of the bag for him! And yikes, the full thing is 17 freaking letters long. Poor kid.

Most of the time, appts are made under my last name (they can find his info easily; I'm not from this city so there aren't a lot of people with my name) and there has never been confusion about me being his mother or who he is. But there is that awkward moment where my husband is with us for something and they call out just my name. I know that was our intention but it still seems weird since it's not *really* his name.

I'm hoping that later down the road our son chooses to use just one name - and either one is fine with me - to make it easy for him. 17 letters on a scan-tron form. Can you imagine?



answers from Phoenix on

I am with you. I think everyone in the family should have the same last name. It's confusing for the kids if not.

I knew a gal who did the opposite - she and the boyfriend weren't married, they had a child, and the child took the mom's last name, and dad was left in the dust. The couple recently married and so now the daughter still has her mom's maiden name as a last name, dad has a different last name, and I'm not sure what mom is doing for a last name. You made a baby with this man, shared a home and bed with him, but your child didn't take his name? And, after all that you got married, making it even more confusing. It's just odd to me.



answers from Chicago on

What happens when one hyphenated kid marries another hyphenated kid? Keep all 4 names? And the next generation-- 8 names?

I didn't keep my maiden name because it was very difficult for people to spell and pronounce, and my husband's was simple. But even if I'd decided to keep my name I wouldn't have saddled my kids with it. It was one of those european names with too many consonants. (Though, I've long since discovered that people still misspell and mispronounce the simplest names!)


answers from Austin on

OMG.. This is 2013, you can do anything you want with names. I have seen I think, all of it.

As PTA President , I worked on the elementary school directory 1 year (never again).. The cross references were amazing.

We had all sorts of combinations.. some would need a long explanation.. So calling the parents and getting it all correct and spelled correctly, in the main portion of the directory and then by classrooms with teachers. Oh my..

Same family but one mom with children from 3 different dads all with different last names and her married for the 4th time.. all of the dads to this family with new wives.. so having all of these people associated with these children.. almost took up a whole page..

Then the couple that had kept their names original names had 2 children toogether, the son had the dads last name the daughter had the moms last name.. but they were married for almost 20 years.

Then the families that were hyphenated.. but each child also went by 2 first names. Example.

Mary Jane Smith - Jones
Billy Ray Smith - Jones
Cara Marie Smith - Jones, I felt like I was working with the Royal Family..

But somehow after all of the years of our children all going to schools together, K - 12, we knew the ends and outs of the families, their marriages, relationships, extended families.. relationships.

Do what you want, but be prepared for some confusion and questions..

Also if names are unusual, spelled differently, pronounced in a different way..A combination of names... Just be ready for a lifetime of politely correcting and assisting others with this same misunderstanding over and over...

To the poor moms and dads that yelled at me for not getting their names correct, spelled incorrectly.. etc.. Not one of them ever were willing to take on the directory..I suggested it.. I honored them with the offer.. But for some reason.. THEY were not willing???

Do not even get me started on the email addresses for all of these people..



answers from Miami on

Some people don't want to lose their identity, or they keep it for professional reasons because that's what their known by in the professional world. This includes celebrities as well. Could you imagine Angelina being Angelina Pitt instead of Angelina Jolie? And Jennifer Aniston being Jennifer Pitt and then Jennifer Theroux?

Since we're on the subject, how do you feel about divorced moms keeping the husband's name? Some people think it's wrong, and odd, if the husband remarries several times and there are 3 women walking around with his last name from prior marriages. I'm just curious.

My father had a hyphenated name because that's what they do in other countries, he had his grandmother's maiden name hyphenated by his father's last name (his parents were divorced and he had nothing to do with his mother so he didn't use her name). I only used his father's last name as a kid rather than the hyphenated version, and then when I married, my husband and his family pressured me to change my name and it was a real pain in the butt. Now I think that pressuring someone to change her name speaks volumes about insecurity and trying to impose, but back then, I was younger and not as wise, and I was afraid to speak my mind.

In the end, I had to have my degrees changed, my license, social security card, voter registration card, credit cards, etc. to please him. Now that we're divorcing, I REALLY do not want to go through the process of changing everything yet AGAIN to my maiden name, and then if I remarry, change everything AGAIN to my married name, so I am just going to keep his last name, which is my daughter's last name too, and if I ever remarry, THEN I will change my name, or I may just go back to my maiden name, I still haven't decided, and it's not really a concern at this time. Besides, my daughter likes sharing the same last name with me anyway so if it makes her feel better, why argue? It doesn't really bother me to keep his name. Besides, my maiden name is just as confusing when it comes to pronouncing and spelling. At least I can tell when a telemarketer's calling because they butcher my last name no matter which name I use, LOL ;)

But, it seems to bother some men that I would still keep my ex's last name and they keep trying to convince me to change it. For the sake of convenience on my part, the answer's always no. I bet if they had to change their name multiple times too, they would understand why I want to avoid the hassle and the big waste of time. I don't understand why someone's choice of last name is such a big deal. In the end, I think it's no one's business but the individual's whether they choose to keep their maiden name or use their married name and like Je§§!¢AWe§§!¢A said, there are other REAL things to worry about and truly consider depressing, than something as trivial as deciding whose last name to use which is such a personal decision that is to be respected no matter the outcome.

PS: Melissa J., I don't know what you meant to say when you said "I don't think I would want to send my kids to school with different last names so that everyone would think I was divorced. " And what would be the big deal if people assumed you're divorced anyway because of a decision to keep your name? You clarify things or tell them to mind their own business and that is it. Considering 50% of marriages end in divorce and many married people keep their maiden name anyway, I don't understand the stigma.



answers from San Antonio on

When we got married we were really weird...we both changed our names. My husband's name was horribly un-"American" and no one could pronounce it or spell it. Mine short and super easy, so I was going to keep mine or hyphenate.

He suggested picking a new family name for our new family...and we did. he changed his name first, and I "took" his name when we married. Kids have our family name.


answers from Chicago on

I had my middle name legally changed to my maiden name when I got married. That way, I could keep it but wouldn't have a hyphenated last name. I wanted the same last name as my husband and kids.



answers from Chicago on

My husband said we should give the kids my name long before we had kids, but when the kids came, everyone assumed they'd have his name. It is social custom here.

I didn't care what name they had, but I do know my FIL would have been pissed if they had my name. Why create a fight on something so insignificant?

I kept my name because I didn't want to notify 30 places of my marriage.


answers from Knoxville on

My kids have his last name. We are divorcing and I am going to then hyphenate my last name. I really don't want to keep his name, but when you hyphenate you can legally use either. I will use my maiden name for everything, but just in case someone calls me by my Ms. "kids last name", they wont be wrong and I wont have to explain anything. Plus, I like my maiden name, I wanted to keep it to start with.
Besides, if I get married again my name would be differrent than my childrens name anyway.
ETA: Oh, and all my artwork is in my maiden name!



answers from Oklahoma City on

Well, your birth name is that of your father usually. It's always been the tradition to take the man's name. I know there are tons and tons of old laws on the books that are pretty disregarded and don't know if there are any that state any legal requirements for the wife to take the new hubby's name.

But since that's been the normal thing there have never been any real issues like we see today. Traditionally when a woman marries she automatically has his name now. As far as I know when you say "I do" and the minister pronounces you husband and wife you are legally Mrs. John Doe at that point. It doesn't matter if you decide to keep your name or hyphenate it, I think legally his last name is now yours.

So when children are born they join a family with a certain legal name. You can call them whatever you want but I think legally they retain the dad's name and you don't get to choose if you use it or not.

I have a friend who is Canadian and her family tradition or country tradition is that the woman's maiden name is each son's middle name. So they are all like this....John Jones Smith son of Jane Lee (Nee Jones) Smith and John James Smith. So he has his mother's maiden name as his middle name and his father's last name.

Traditionally having their fathers last name is what proved they weren't bastard children, that they were legitimate children of the family and had a right to inherit that father's property.

So, in American most people would think your child is not his father's child if he didn't have his own father's last name. They would also think you were just living together and not married if you didn't take the husbands name. That's our traditions and perhaps in some area's with old odd laws on the books somewhere.

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