How should women handle their last names when they marry?
I kept mine, and while I am happy I did, it is not a totally satisfactory solution. One, you give up that symbol – the same last name – for your family. Two, my last name is not going to keep going since my children have my husband’s last name. In fact, as he points out, of the six names we gave our children (first, middle, last X two kids), I only got one of them, my daughter’s first name. (She’s named after my mother, while my son is named after my husband, who is named after his father, that continuity through the generations is nice – and my daughter’s middle name, well, my husband’s family has a cool one, with a rocking story behind it, that I couldn’t resist using.)
If we gave one child my last name and the other my husband’s, I think my kids would wonder how we decided who got what and what that said about them. Names are powerful, and while I see drawbacks in how they are traditionally handled, I also hesitate to screw around with them on the fly.
Hyphenation is also not a good long-term solution. I once met a young girl who sadly pointed out that her hyphenated name was 26 letters long.
My friend’s sister kept her last name because, she said, whatever she accomplished in life was because of her parents, the people who raised and educated her. Nice.
And whenever I see a situation where the boss (always a man) is Mr. So&So, but the employees (always women) go by just first names, I am reminded of the power in last names.
What did you do?