Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Baby LAST Name Game

With the recent arrival of little Jude, I have been getting more and more interested in baby names. Note that I am not presently nor planning to become pregnant anytime in the next few months however my current reading material is "The Very Best Baby Name Book". Nothing like getting a head start right?

Although I have had my favorite names picked out pretty much since high school, I have had to make some adjustments considering when you're the last one out of all of your friends & family members to have kids don't be surprised if some of your faves get taken. Oh well!

I thought that for most people, getting their significant other to agree on a baby's first name that you both like was the biggest thing to deal with. I know I am going to have a major dilemma in this area. We can't even agree on furniture we both like so something way more important like naming our kid is going to be a huge issue. I was joking around with the hubby that he can choose the last name & I will choose the first name. I was totally kidding at the time & never thought for one second that any future kids wouldn't have his last name because I took it when we got married so there was really no question about that.

As I began researching names online, I realized just how many options for last names there really are. Let's start off by saying that my maiden name wasn't anything great. It was polish and weird and nobody could pronounce it. I understand that last names are your heritage and I am happy to be from the family that I am from, but there's no doubt myself and my female cousin were super psyched to marry guys with normal and easy to pronounce last names. Luckily my brother is around to carry on the name so it's not like the name is dying or anything. Obviously this isn't the case for everyone and some people are much more attached to their name than me.

Moving on...Here are a few baby last name scenarios you may not have thought of along with their pros and cons

1. Everyone has the same last name. Pro: School, doctor's office and everyone else will have no doubt who the child's parents are. Con: Whichever parent's last name is not used may feel like their name is being forgotten.

2. Make your own last name. Can you believe it is possible to combine your two last names to make a new last name? For example Kaplan and Kleinerman become Kapklein. Pro: You are starting a new name legacy. Con: Families might think you are abandoning them and your identity.

3. Baby shares one parent's last name. Pro: Baby has family name lineage of one parent. Con: Lineage of other parent will be lost.

4. Baby gets a hyphenated last name. Pro: There will never be any mistake who the child's parents are. Con: Name may be too long to fit on forms and may be difficult for others to remember correctly.

5. Baby gets both last names by using one partner's name as a middle name and the others as a last name. Pro: If you always write out the child's full name it will be obvious who the parents are and both family names will live on. Con: Some may be confused if the child has a middle name or two last names.

Obviously everyone's situation is different and maybe there are even some options that I haven't listed. I know a couple who was planning on combining their last names for their kids because they both came from divorced families and had no real ties to their birth dads who they got their names from in the first place. They eventually decided against it, probably because people looked at them like they were nuts every time they brought it up. I also read about a family who had twins and gave one the mom's last name and the other one the dad's last name. That seems totally confusing to me but at least both names will live on for another generation.

How did you decide on your child's last name?


Micheline said...

My husband is originally from Chile, so we decided to keep the Chilean tradition. We both kept our "maiden" names and the children have received both paternal names from each parent. My husband's last name comes first and mine is second.
(for example if his last name was smith-jones and mine was james-connor, the kids last name would be smith-james)

Christy said...

My maiden name was hard to pronounce too, so I was kind of glad to be rid of it. I was actually given my mother's maiden name, instead of my father's last name.

I took John's last name when we got married and both of the kids have his last name too. It just makes things easier.

Tracy said...

Last names were a huge deal for Justin and I. I'll admit I did not love his last name and pleaded for him to take mine or better yet we both change our last names to his maternal grandparent's ( we both adore them). In the end he won and I took his name so the girls have it too.

BTW I know someone who took part of his last name and part of his wife's and made their own. Tragically she committed suicide and he was left with this new weird last name until he changed it back.

Marcy said...

For us it was automatic-- I took my husband's last name when we married, and then we gave that name to our son. I wanted all of us to share the same last name. I do have a friend whose parents just made up her last name when they named her-- it's neither parents' name, but just something they picked out randomly. That's pretty unsual, though, it seems in our culture if you do anything other than give the kid dad's last name you'll be looked at like you've grown an extra head.

Danielle said...

This was a slght issue for us. I have always wanted to keep my last name. Luckily my husband did not take issue with me keeping TAMEZ. His last name is Miller and I just don't feel like Danielle Miller. I have considered adding it to my name at some point but not sure if it will ever happen. I really love my last name. I think it is unique and and part of who I am.

I had no problem giving the kids Pete's last name-although I was tempted to slip Tamez onto the birth certificate. They were born Millers so it isn't like they will have to change anything- or Eliza can when she gets married if she chooses.

I don't think it is an issue that my last name is different than the kids. As a teacher I realized this situation is no longer unusual and is actually quite the norm. However, someday I might become Tamez-Miller- who knows!

Dana said...

i think the baby should ALWAYS take the husbands last name..