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?