My Baby Has a Different Last Name Than Me & Sometimes It Bums Me Out

mom babyThere's a conversation going on on CafeMom right now about whether or not it matters if your kid's last name matches yours, and I had to jump in, because, man, do I know this situation. My daughter's last name is different than mine. Not much different, but different enough. I go by "Fabian-Weber", while she's just "Weber". I didn't want to give her a hyphenated name, as, let's be honest, it is a mouthful; but also, if she wants to hyphenate her last name some day, things could get tricky. Fabian-Weber-Smith? Too much.

Originally, I didn't change my name at all. And my husband was fine with it. But when we started discussing having kids, I thought it would be nice for all parties if I had "Weber" in my name, too. And so I went through all the annoying red tape and took off of work so I could sit in a courtroom in Brooklyn all day and changed my name.

But now I sometimes feel like it's still not enough.

Growing up, everyone in my household had the same last name. We were all Fabians. My parents were old school Italians, and I seriously doubt the conversation of whether or not my mom should change or hyphenate her name ever came up. When my friends came over, it was "Hi, Mrs. Fabian"; and when we went on school trips, "Fabian" was the last name my mom signed on the permission slip. She was my mom and her last name matched mine perfectly. When my daughter gets older, it won't be that simple for her.

I'm not overly worried about the whole "signing them out of school" thing that everyone always talks about. My last name does have "Weber" in it, and I hardly think I'm the only person in the New York City area to hyphenate their name. But sometimes, like when her grandparents refer to her as a "true Weber", it creates a sort of divide. I gave birth to her. Why don't we have the same last name?

On the other hand, I feel like changing my last name would send the wrong message to my daughter. No disrespect to people who take their husband's last names -- many friends of mine have taken their husband's surname, and like I said, my mother did, as well -- but it's just not "me". Not only do I feel like my maiden name is a big part of my life -- I grew up with that name -- it connects me to my mother, who died three years ago. Also, I don't want to feel like I've become a completely different person after getting married and having kids -- and I feel like that's how it may look to me on paper were I to change my name.

If my daughter wants to take her husband's last name when she grows up, that's a-okay with me. Her name, her choice. A goal of mine is to always respect her as an individual, and remember that she's not an extension of me. We're two different people. But I hope she understands why her mom has a different last name than her -- and eventually respects it, too.

Do you have a different last name from your baby?

Image via Varin Tsai/Flickr

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ashjo85 ashjo85

I don't, and I'd hate it if I did. Honestly, there's an old school solution. When you marry, you make your maiden name your middle name. Drop your original middle name (or keep it, lots of people have two), and take Weber as your only last name. Problem solved. You can pen your name however you want, and you don't lose your connection to your past. I never felt like this was a pressing issue. Changing my last name didn't change ME. So I didn't worry about it. I took my husband's name and don't regret it.

nonmember avatar Daddy

Very interesting post. Here's a slightly different experience with the whole issue.

I'm a gay man and I changed my last name to my husband's when we married in 2008. I wanted everyone in our house (we were adopting twins at the time) to have the same last name. Since my husband brought two children into the marriage (both of whom were living with us) it meant I had to change mine to his.

Many people, including my parents and friends, were horrified that I was giving up my last name. For me it was important that everyone in our family have the same last name.

Just thought I'd offer a different take from a very different angle. As gay marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships sweep across our country, I am curious to see how the LGBT community winds up handling this issue as a whole. Hyphenate? Or all out name change (like I did)?

P.S. One advantage. Weird people from high school can no longer find me on Facebook since they don't expect a dude to have a different last name than he had in high school.

lulou lulou

That old school solution wouldnt help prospective employers find your patents.

Irela... Ireland69

My boys have my ex last name and when i divorced i changed my last name actually my name was hyphenated so i dropped his last name.  So when the boys are with their friends  they call by my first name or when i call school they call me by my ex's last name ,when they ask me for my full name and my son's it seems weird.  But i know I'm not the only one with that problem just seems weird.  My son's have told me they want to change their last name to mine or hyphenate theirs.

tnyangel tnyangel

It doesn't have to be that formal. I work in a law office and know that each state has different regulation, but every state allows for an alias. Just sign the first of the year school papers willy-nilly, half Fabian-Weber and half just Weber. That's all it takes, then the school will recognize you as both. If anyone asks, just say "Oh I know I didn't put Fabian-Weber, I got a hand cramp half-way through the stack!" or just be honest and say you can use both. 

Heath... Heathp721

I never changed my last name back to my maiden name after my divorce bc I wanted to keep the same last name as my daughter. Then I had my son and was not with his father at the time I gave birth do the hospital had to put my current last name (my exhusbands) on my babys bassinet which was amusing to say the least. I then ended up giving him my maiden name as his last name but have not been to court to change my name back to my maiden name yet. In a way I feel bad that my son has neither his mother or his fathers last name. Definitely an odd feeling.

Jilli... Jillie0918

I am not married and I have a two year old son who has his fathers' last name (He's a Jr.). Initially I was excited and never thought twice about my son having his fathers' last name, because we were once engaged to be married and I was going to hyphenate my name also to Brown-Delgado. Since that didnt happen, my son now has a totally different name and what makes it even worse is he hardly looks like me (He and his dad are TWINS). IDK, I kinda feel like an outsider. I would hate to change his name now that he knows it by heart. I am just stuck between a rock and a hard place. Hopefully he and his dad will marry one of these days so I wont feel so out of place.

Vegeta Vegeta

A lot of Hispanic families hyphenate their names but only go by the fathers name. When a girl gets married she drops the moms last name and the dads last name moves to the left if the husbands.

My kids and I have my wifes last name.

nonmember avatar MammaMel

I never took my (now ex) husbands last name. I didn't like it, and he didn't have an connection to it. My maiden name I know where it came from and can trace it back to the motherland and beyond...he can trace it to his grandparents...although in all honesty my lifelong plan was to keep my last name and pass it on to my kids! I wanted to keep my heritage, as a result my son has my maiden name and not his fathers name (there are other reasons involved). I am so glad we have the same last name, because truth is I am the one involved in everything he does while his father isn't invovled in anything (and wouldn't have been even if we were together). Last names are sticky, but the way that everyone does something different anymore I would say there is no norm! (sidenote...when I get remarried I now have an excuse not to change my name even if my husband could trace his to Ceasar!)

nonmember avatar NoWay

When I got divorced, I kept my last name because I really saw no reason to change it and my boys have that last name. When I got married last summer, I took my new husband's last name. It's really not a big deal. In cases where I think it might cause confusion, I put my former name in parentheses or say so and so's mom ...

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