What's In A Name?

Thursday, 4 April 2013

I've been struggling with something for a year or so and I thought it was time to blog about it and possibly gain some new opinion on the matter. The problem is my name, or rather my surname. Both of my daughters have boyfriend's surname and I am the black sheep of our little family. It's usually not a problem as I rarely feel any less of a girlfriend or a mother because of it but it becomes a very real topic when you have formal documents, school teachers, doctor's notes etc all in different names. Layla notices and often says "I'd love you to have the same last name as me, Mummy because I want us all to be together". This is how I'm feeling too.

I always thought I'd keep my maiden name if I ever got married and with my first, very short, marriage that's what I did. I took it as a sign that I could still keep my independence and that this was the name I have answered to, written and corresponded with for over twenty years; I couldn't, no wouldn't give that up for a man. Now I think that it was probably a sign the relationship wasn't quite right as four years on I am thinking of exchanging my surname for his yet I'm not concerned with losing my identity so much.

We will get married but we don't know when. We're technically engaged as I have a 'temporary' ring on my finger but there will come a time when he proposes again like he wants to, we'll go through the motions of the engagement party and planning a shindig and we'll be signing into matrimony. That time is not anywhere in the foreseeable future not for lack of love or willing but for lack of expendable income. I'd happily take his name during marriage where everything is a relative swift transition but I honestly don't know if I can hold out for another few years. I'd like to be a 'W' rather than a 'Mrs W', if you get me?

So I have an idea. I could change my surname legally by deed poll, have it amended on all legal documents aside from my birth certificate and have done with it. I could become 'Ms W' before the day I become 'Mrs W'. It may seem odd when we're marrying each other and our surnames are the same (or we could switch it out for my maiden name for ceremonial purposes) but I wouldn't have to be apart in name from my children. For the sake of around £30 we could all bear the same surname.

I'm just writing thoughts as I flit back and forth from waiting to doing it. I don't know exactly what's holding me back but it's probably the mass paperwork from deed poll name changes (the same as with marital name changes really). Am I being ridiculous or is this a logical thought process? I honestly can't differentiate anymore.


  1. I would PERSONALLY leave it until you get married, it'll make the day so much more special taking his name, that doing it in a dingey council office, and youll remember it forever :)

  2. I agree with Sara that doing it on the day of would make it special, but if I were in your situation, I think I would go for it sooner. I think for me having the same last name is a big part of "family", and that's why I would do it right away. I completely understand your dilemma, though.

  3. I am in the same situation as you. My partner blew way more than I thought he would on my engagement ring, and so we have no money for a wedding any time soon. I would like to have the same name as my kids, and my situation is made even worse by the fact that his ex wife kept his name. I know that should not bother me, and I am ashamed for being so childish, but it does.

  4. could you not just 'get married' (on paper alone) and then you can be whichever salutation you like, but still be a W? just a thought. or, just start calling yourself laura w on official stuff, and see if anyone notices....

  5. I have to agree with Sara too, wait until the big day. It will mean so much more that way. I can see what you mean with it all and I think when kids ask this then it makes you want it even more. I'm opposite way round and both mine have my surname. At the end of the day it's what makes you happy and not anyone else so if you want to be a Ms W now then do it.

    Rhiannon x

  6. If you were going to take his name, I would probably just do a tiny ceremony in a registry office and get married, then do a big wedding officially when you can afford it. Marriage would make it a whole lot more special and you might regret just changing it? xx

  7. This is really interesting- from the other side sort of, my mum kept her married name after she and my dad divorced, so as to have the same surname as me and my brothers. I think do whatever feels right for you and your family. But also, you don't HAVE to have a big wedding- you could do a little one for you guys and then renew your vows with everyone when you can afford it! x

  8. I can see why your thinking about it, I don't think your surname really matters these days. Me and my man are never getting married so if/when we have kids they won't have my name, I don't think it's uncommon now. If it would make you feel better though go for it :)

  9. 8 or so years ago, I was in exactly this same situation. My partner and I had gotten engaged, but fallen pregnant with our first daughter sooner than expected. When she was born, we were still unmarried as I hadn't wanted to rush a marriage just because I was pregnant. However within a month or so of her being born, I was feeling the strains of us having a different surnames - specifically at the doctors. I discussed it with my partner and he suggested deed poll. I was definitely tempted but it seemed like a weird idea, given that we wanted to get married anyway, that I would one day automatically take his surname anyway. We decided instead to get married, however as money was tight it was a very small affair at the local registry office, followed by a family get together at our house (well technically our newly opened restaurant). We had bacon butties and a glass of champagne, and looked back on it for years as one of the best days of our lives.

    Sadly 8 years on, we're no longer together (well not that sadly, you know?). Both my daughters have our family name, and though my husband and I are separated, I still have the family name. I always thought if I got divorced, I'd return to my maiden name (like you, I had been married briefly before at an earlier age, and I returned to my maiden name that time). However with two children of the same name now, I would never change. I remember a few months after their dad and I broke up, the kids got themselves quite upset at the thought I'd have a different name from them. I promised them I wouldn't change and I never intended to.

    Two years on now, I have a new partner - the only one I've had since my marriage broke down. I'll admit I've considered more the logistics of remarrying, new names, the difference between Ms and Mrs. I can't really tell you I've come to any firm conclusion, but for as long as it matters to the kids (I guess till they're old enough to marry themselves) I intend to keep the family name. If I ever want to get married again it will either wait until they're both 18 or over, or I just won't change my surname (though that will be weird having a married name that doesn't belong to the actual person I'm married to!)

    Anyway... I ranted more than I expected to but figured I'd offer my two pence. Hope it helps in some way, though not totally sure what.

  10. I have exactly the same thought re me being the only one without their surname.I actually jokingly said to bf about how he d feel if I changed my name to his by deed poll.he calledme unromantic!Its just a hella lot cheaper than marriage!xx

  11. I felt exactly the same before I married. We had our little girl and I felt like the odd one out. When I phoned nurseries and things I felt like I had to explain who I was to the point where I just looked stupid. I considered double-barrelling for a little while, insisting that my little girl took "my" name as well, but I felt like a fraud.

    I'm not sure what the answer is really, just wanted to let you know that you're not alone in feeling the way you do.

    Kate x
    Just Pirouette and Carry On...