Thursday, 18 December 2014

Naming a baby - the surname edition

With many different family configuration options in our flexible world, there are lots of options for family surnames. This is something I still think on quite a bit, even though we've made (and are happy with) our family name decision so I thought I'd share our thinking - and I'd love to hear your thoughts.

As with many of the options available in life this is one where different answers are right for different people (and even the same people at different times).

I consider myself a feminist (as does my husband) and we're both pretty liberal in general - apart from the fact that I am better endowed to grow and (initially) feed an infant, we're equals (just in case any male readers are feeling left out of baby growing, don't worry, it has both pros and cons, and as my husband helpfully informed our antenatal group, it is technically possible* for men to breastfeed... ). So when we were planning our wedding, the surname factor was extensively discussed.

In the end I adopted his family name. Here were the deciding factors for us:

We wanted our whole family to share the same name
This is definitely not required, but seems easy, and if you've taken anything from this blog hopefully it's that generally I like the easy option. ;-) Mainly this just removes inconsequential but slightly awkward confusions from everyday life - like letters addressed to the wrong combination of names, or teachers who assume you share a surname with your child.

We didn't want a long name
My previous surname is nine letters long. Although that doesn't rule out hyphenation as an option it seemed unwieldy.

He was happy to adopt my name
I'm a contrarian. If he had insisted I take his name I would have refused. But he was happy to so it could have been decided by a coin toss if we hadn't come to an agreement (perhaps that's what we should have done!).

Hybrid names didn't really work for us
We did spend quite a while thinking about ways to mash our names together to make a new name that represented us - but the options seemed likely to make us (and our then hypothetical progeny) a laughingstock.

I can completely see how others could come to opposite conclusions on any or all of our criteria - that's what makes this such an interesting world to live in! But that was our logic, and it works for us.

What's your family surname configuration and why did you choose to do it that way?

*This would likely require some hormone treatment and a well above average commitment to the cause - but the potential is there. He hasn't offered though! 


  1. Totally should have gone with Slackfield!

  2. Oooooh, I always love hearing about how other families handled this!

    Like you, it was really important to hubby and I to share a name. My first name is hyphenated, so I point-blank refused to hyphenate my surname (unless I changed my middle name to Hyphen, so I became First-Name Hyphen Mysurname-Hissurname. But apparently it would have been ridiculous.)

    In the end, we went by aesthetics. He has a really common first name which sounded nice with my surname, whereas my (long and unweildy) first name sounded clunky with his surname, so he changed his name! His surname would make a really cool, uncommon but not outlandish, first name for a boy, so we're keeping it under our hats :)

  3. Aw, First-Name Hyphen Mysurname-Hissurname is so catchy though! ;-) Cool that your husband's maiden name has a possible family use down the line, too.