Should You Take His Last Name? My Name Does Not Define Me


Growing up, My last name was Schneider, it was different than my mom’s last name but the same as my father’s, whom I never knew.   Going through life, I didn’t identify with my last name, it didn’t make me who I was.   I didn’t care too much for it either, so when I got married 11 years ago, I took my husband’s name.

After 9 years of marriage, I divorced, but didn’t change back to my maiden name.  I didn’t want the hassle of changing all my records. I didn’t want my son’s school or doctors to constantly call me by the incorrect name.  It was just easier to keep my married name, even though I was no longer married.  My name, once again, didn’t define who I was.  I was me - no matter what my last name was.  My name doesn’t change who I am - it only changes how I am recorded on public records.

A few months my divorce, I reconnected with a high school crush.  We never dated back in the day, but I always thought he was cute.  We began dating, and the rest as they say, is history.  We had a child together, who is named after his father.  I am living in a household where we have 2 different last names now.  But it doesn’t take away from the fact we are a family - I guess this just makes us a “modern family”.

The other day, I took my newborn to the doctor.  I have been going there for 9 years now with my first born son and they know me by my last name (my ex’s name).  But they called me by my newborn’s last name … “Mrs. B” , to which I promptly responded.  It didn’t matter what they called me, I knew who they meant, because my name doesn’t define who I am - whether you call me “Ms. T or Mrs. B”,  I am still my sons’ mother, my children only know me as “Mom”.

If I were to remarry, I would take his name.  Perhaps call me a traditionalist, but I believe that the bonds of marriage are meant to create a family - and with the term family, two become one and one should merge names.  Does it matter who takes who’s name? Not really, as long as the family shares the name.  The sharing of a name is just a symbol of the bond of marriage and family, one that should never be broken (in a perfect world) no different than the meaning of the engagement ring or the wedding band I will wear.  I relish the joy of starting a family and our children carrying on our family’s name.

I am an independent woman.  I own my own business, I can take out my own trash, I can hold open my own doors.  Taking his name does not kill my independence, it does not squash my potential, it does not change who I am.  I am not losing any part of myself by relinquishing my maiden name, rather I am gaining a new chapter in my book of life.  I am still very much equal in my relationship, because I am freely choosing to take his name.  I am an individual and a name does not define me.  But, perhaps the name “Mom” defines me more than any last name I could be given.  And that title makes me very happy.

What are your feelings about keeping or changing your last name when you get married?  Let me know in the comments below, I would love to hear from you!

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Founder of Inked Weddings and an 11 year veteran of the wedding industry, Erica has seen it all - and has a growing collection of her own personal Ink. She lives in between New York City and New Jersey with her beau, geek-in-training tween son, a newborn rock star to be, a rescue dog and two finicky Russian blue cats. Loves coffee, high heels, Helsinki and has a penchant for bad boys who are secretly superheros. Connect With Erica on Google+

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