Having your own last name is an imaginary problem

While I understand the family pride that some might feel when they refer to themselves as “The Lees” or “The Browns”, I have not been persuaded that changing one’s last name to match her husband’s is important. I did not change mine, and my children have my husband’s last name. (My son has my last name as his middle.)

When I was dating my husband, I never fantasized that his last name would one day become mine. I don’t think that he did either, because he never suggested I start calling myself something else. About half my friends maintained the surnames they were born with after marriage. The tradition of name-changing is simply not one I was interested in continuing, and fortunately, there is no rule that says one has to.

I hear people say that they wanted the same last name as their children so that when they’re in school, there is no problem. Now that I have a first grader, I can say with authority that there is no such issue.

There is always a space on the form for the first and last names of everyone in our family. When I make appointments for my children, I use their names for them, just as I would if mine happened to be the same. When we buy airline tickets, we are seated together because the order is on the same credit card. I have never been asked to prove my relationship to my children in any out-of-the-ordinary manner due to my last name.

So while I have sacrificed the opportunity to purchase a return address label with our family monogram on it, there have been no moments during parenthood where I felt my choice was a bad one.

Do your children have your last name? If not, is it a problem?

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RookieMoms.com co-founder Whitney lives with her husband, son, and daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area where she writes about parenting, crafts, and activities that moms can do with babies in tow. She and Heather also publish 510Families.com, a site for East Bay parents and are the authors of The Rookie Mom's Handbook and Stuff Every Mom Should Know.