Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Name of the Game - To Change or Not to Change?

Sorry for the terribly long post yesterday folks. I'll try and keep it brief today so as not to be all long winded and windbaggy and scare you in to never coming back.

Because I'd certainly miss you so!

So stick with me for a little bit, this could be interesting.

I work in an environment with many individuals with advanced degrees; many of whom are published. Most of the married females published before they were married and are recognized in their field under their maiden names. Thus they have chosen not to take their husbands last name.

Or maybe it goes deeper than that.

In talking with a male co-worker yesterday that was recently married to a recently divorced woman (did you get all that?) he mentioned that she needed to change her last name. I assumed that he meant to his last name but he said no he really didn't care whether she assumed his surname or not but that she absolutely could not have another man's name. He said in fact that he'd rather her change back to her maiden name. I understand the reasoning behind not wanting a wife with another man's name but because she has kids with that last name she is hesitant to change her name at all. When I asked him how he felt about that he made it clear that he has issues with women changing their last names at all.

He and I have had this debate before "Why do you do it?" He asks " I think its an antiquated, outdated practice and there really isn't any reason for it"

By "you" , he's not only referring to me specifically but all if I could answer that.

I didn't have any hard and fast belief that I had to take hubby's last name. In fact I rather liked my maiden name. After all I'd had it for 28 years prior to marrying him but because I loved him and because it meant something to him that I take his name I did so.

Beyond that I know my name does not define me thus whether I chose to keep my maiden name or change it ultimately did not matter.

So what about you ? How'd you play "the game" ? Where do you stand ?


Biby Cletus said...

Nice post, its a really cool blog that you have here, keep up the good work, will be back.

Warm Regards

Biby Cletus - Blog

Sugar Kane said...

I think it's a personal choice. A male co-worker of mine recently got married. They decided to 'share' names so they are both 'smith-jones'. Apparently that's what all the hip, young kids are doing these days.

Butrfly4404 said...

All I really care about is my intials...and TM's last name starts with H as well, so I'm okay there. If my brother hadn't had a son, I might have kept my last name...just to honor my granpa (not that I have an uncommon last name, just not SUPER common, like Smith or Jones).

I think about that with his ex, because she kept his name. I'm sure it was with the reasonign that she wanted the same last name as her kids. Although, its not like she'd have to explain to the school or anything why she had a different name because she doesn't DO any of that stuff.

However, I had to call about a weird bounced check letter TM got in the mail and I gave her my full name - she said "I can't discuss this information with you." I said, "I'm his wife." (What? Pretty much!) and she said "Oh, well, your-" I said, "It's 2006, I can't keep my own name?" haha..worked like a charm.

Another take on it: My mom had three kids with her first hus. and went back to her maiden name before the divorce was final. She had two with her second hus and kept his name - still, even though she's engaged to her NEXT hus. SHe will take his name, then, though, but the kids might too.

That was long and a little pointless, sorry, just different POV's

Worker Mommy said...

Thanks Biby and welcome.

Sugar Kane - Yes, I've heard the cool kids are doing that. I've even heard creating some version of the two names like Sones or jmith (are you lovin that one ?)

Not pointless at all Butrfly. I love hearing others points of view... as long as they concur with mine. HaHa- only kidding!

Brillig said...

I really have no strong opinion on any of this either way, actually. I understand perfectly when women DON'T want to change their names. There are many good reasons not to. In my case, though, I didn't have any reason NOT to change my name. My oldest son's middle name is my maiden name, so the "legacy" is carried on in a way (plus I have a couple of brothers who have also passed the name along). Plus, I kinda liked the idea of becoming a part of him--people associate us together because of our last name. I guess the most important thing is that it wasn't PUSHED on me. No one made me take his name, I CHOSE to. So there's no pig-headed, antiquated, male-domination stuff going on when you make a CHOICE.

Worker Mommy said...

Right on Brillig. All good points!

Naarski said...

I keep my maiden name at work and use my married name in all other situations. I used to want to keep my maiden name cuz my dad didn't have any sons. So, I figured I would keep my maiden name in honor of my dad. But then I realized that taking my husband's last name was a way of us making a new family together.

MamaToo said...

This is such a great question!

I took my hubby's last name; I was young and didn't have any career/professional reasons not to. I did, and still do, like it and the idea of being identified with him (not in a wierd property sense, but labeling myself differently when adding "his wife" to who I am). It was wierd, though, leaving behind my family name.
We used my maiden name for our kids' middle names. I like my name & heritage, and wanted a way to pass that on to them.

Lene said...

I took my DH's name. I joked with him taking my name. Yea, that didn't fly over well. My maiden name was a long Greek name and "Jeff" just didn't go well with it. It would have been quite funny. I think he figured that he would have been razzed to no end by other men if he did take my name. Soo in the end I took biggee. I really didn't care either way.

Anonymous said...

I think it's an important sign of commitment to the marriage that the woman changes her last name to the man's, as well as being a romantic tradition. It's the equivalent of the man buying an engagement ring really - which is also a sign of commitment and a romantic tradition.
I think a woman that won't change her last name but who expects an engagement ring is a hypocrite.