Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Mrs. and Mr. Jane Doe - Are you taking her name?

Image from Wedding Photography Ink

I was sitting at my Doctor's office today and while I waited to be seen (for almost 90 minutes, but who is counting) I read a very though provoking article on Parenting magazine about changing your last name after marriage. "What is so though provoking about changing your name after marriage?" you may ask, and the spin on it is that it was written by a man. He went on to note how his grandmother told him "I'm gonna kill you" after they announce Mr. and Mrs. "insert wife's family name here". He also noted how credit card companies made it so hard to go through this process that is so common for women, all because he was a man and something fishy had to be behind it.

Happiest Day, even without changing my name.

What struck a cord was that he also noted how men live their whole lives with the name they are given at birth, and expect that to always be so, and yet we say nothing when women don't. I understand the romanticism behind it, but I never identified with it.

I grew up in Mexico, where you have two last names. When I started college in the US I when through a lot of hurdles all to keep those names because I didn't identify with having just one. I felt I was loosing my identity. When I met my husband we talked about this long before planning our wedding, he understood that this was not about him or his name, but about mine and my identity. This was not coming from a prideful place either, because when we had kids I was the one that decided they have only his last name and not mine ( I didn't want them struggling with a hyphenated name as I had for half my life).

But my decision to keep my family name has been question many times, by many different people. More so now at my kids' school when they finally find out (I try not to mention it, but somehow it always comes out). So I do see the value of a "family" name, but all because of what others see, others who grew up in that same society where women change their names once married. My kids, who have always known Mommy doesn't have their same last name, don't care, or they actually do but they care that I keep my last name because "it is your name Mommy! why would you change it to ours?" 

From the mouth of babes!

To each their own. But not everyone agrees with "to each their own". Why would it be such a big deal for a man to change their name once married? This man wanted for the whole family to have the same name, and so their kids would take on his wife's family name. He was teased with such comments as "should we address you as Mrs. and Mr. [insert wife's name here]?" Well, why not?

I would never ask my husband to change his name, for the same reason he didn't ask me to change mine, but why should anyone care if he did.

I won't preach to my children in one direction or another, as I want them to form their own opinion and decide for themselves. At the same time, I would support my daughter if she chose to change her name or if she chose to keep it, and I would do the same for my son. He should not have to fear ridicule or extra hurdles just for changing his last name.

If men can be Nurses, Nannies, Stay at Home Dads, and society accepts them, why can't we accept a simple name change? Any Man that decides to blaze their own trail regardless of gender roles deserves to wear the "SuperMan" ring in my book.

What do you think about men taking their wives' last name?

Rossana G-A

FTC Disclaimer: I am not compensated to write this post.

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