My husband has his last name, I have mine. As a ‘mature age’ bride (a fact kindly pointed out to me at the bridal dress shop), taking my husband’s name just felt a little odd for a number of reasons. Some of those reasons are because I like my name, I’m proud of my name, I’ve lived with it for a long time, and luckily my husband wasn’t expecting me to change my name.
Merging names into a single new name
We briefly toyed with the idea of merging our names into a single new name. We trialled this combo as our Trivia Team name. “This is a family establishment!” hissed the pub trivia lady in her low-cut ‘Best rack in town’ Rib Night promotional T-shirt as she collected our trivia sheets. And thus the merged ‘Cunntar’ was scratched as an option.
In my mind my baby would be just called My Baby forever. The thought of My Babygrowing up and identifying himself as something other than My Baby some day is a little confronting. Alas, such is life. In the end our baby was born and we settled on a hyphenated surname, incorporating both of our last names in full. Our son’s first name reflects who he is so perfectly, so we got that right. And one day he hopefully will have the personality to deal with his unfortunate double-barrelled gob smacker of a last name, or if he chooses to drop one name at least both of his parent’s names will forever be on his birth certificate and part of his history.
So for the mammas out there attached to their surnames and who are fortunate to be living in a world where choosing a child’s last name is actually an option - the father’s surname no longer the default, or for the same sex couples drawing straws - here are some things you may want to consider:
A last name tells a story
A last name is a ‘family’ name. Your son or daughter will carry it with them for the rest of their lives, even if they chose to change it, it will always be on their birth certificate, and one day their own children will ask about it. So even if you have taken your spouse’s family name, it’s worth considering using your own last name, if you’re attached to it, as a middle name – that way they can’t escape you!
Having the confidence to handle an unpronounceable last name
Maybe you have an odd last name? The good thing about surnames is that they don’t have to sound great, they don’t need to be on-trend and they don’t even need to be that pronounceable. But they will always be remembered on the first day of school when the teacher reads them out. So you need to consider whether junior’s last name is likely to make him or her the object of ridicule or not. If so, start the confidence training early.
A last name can become a very cool nickname
In high school and college, names become abbreviated. A last name can easily become a nickname in abbreviated from. Particularly if your child is one of many in the classroom with the same trendy name – you may prefer they be differentiated by their last name rather than be called ‘Fat TrendyNameX’ or ‘Tiny TrendyNameY’. So before you consider dropping your own last name entirely from your baby’s birth certificate, ask yourself if it has more or less potential as a nickname on the football or hockey field than your partner’s last name.
Worst case scenario
Throw all the names in! Why not? For a nominal fee your kid can drop one of them when they turn 18. Just for the fun of it, make it an 18 year long competition between you and your partner to see who the kids love the most! Survival style - nothing weird about that.
Article by Ilona Tar