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Choosing Your Baby's Last Name

 

When I had my first baby, in 2008, we did the traditional thing and gave him his father’s last name even though I was still using my maiden name. We didn’t consider hyphenating or giving our son my last name, or even inventing a new combination name, as I’ve known some couples to do—say, taking Maxwell and Goldberg and having the kids use the original surname Maxberg.

We did the easy, expected, traditional, “normal” thing and never looked back (in part because I knew I’d eventually take the same last name and I wanted us to have that in common as a family unit). It was the right decision for us, but that of course doesn’t mean it’s the right decision for everyone.   

I don’t have any statistics for you, but it’s becoming more and more common, at least here in the progressive San Francisco Bay Area, to see unusual naming patterns for kids born to parents with different last names. Some people do it for equality, some to make a point, some because they just like one name better than the other. I'm cool with everyone being able to do what they want, but MAN it can get confusing trying to keep track of who's who.

The most unusual example I’ve come across is some friends of ours who gave their firstborn, a daughter, the mother’s last name and said they’d give a future son the father’s last name. Of course, their second (and last) child is also a girl but, undeterred, they stuck with their original plan and are now the married parents of two full sisters with completely different last names. Personally, that would drive me nuts (and it’s hard to know how to address our holiday card to their family!), but they’re not bothered by it at all, so who am I to complain?

Are you noticing this trend among your friends and family? Or is everyone you know still giving their babies the fathers’ last name, no matter the circumstances. (I imagine I’d have a hard time giving my baby the name of a deadbeat dad who wasn’t in the picture, but maybe that’s just me…)

Do you have any interesting stories about people going the non-traditional route with their kids' last names? If you’re still using your maiden name, would you ever consider passing that down to your children? How would your family and friends react? How would the baby’s father react? Do you support this trend or worry it's undermining the traditional family unit (or maybe even just confusing everybody)?

Also don't forget to check out the last baby name trends for more inspiration, with our current top 100 boys names and top 100 girls names lists!

 
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