In the name of the father… or the mother?


Rebecca at Girl’s Gone Child (love this blog!) wrote a post about whether or not to take your husband’s surname, and whose name the kids will get.

I often think about this as a kind of amusing thought experiment, even though I won’t be getting married, and BFG told me recently that he does not want kids, possibly ever. Which was a surprise, not that I even know what I think or want regarding kids. I could write a book about having or not having kids. But anyway. It still amuses me to think about the hypothetical naming crisis.

Imagine we had some kids. Not just one because multiple spawn make the name game more interesting, and actually less complicated.

The surnames that we have to work with are Brown and Fish. I don’t plan on changing my name because I am not married. But. What about these hypothetical groblets?

I have considered many of the alternatives people mention on Rebecca’s blog, and some others:

  1. Hyphenate our names. Brown-Fish or Fish-Brown. That is just too cruel. We must abstain for humanitarian purposes.
  2. Just give them all his name or all my name. But this is not fair. I think it makes sense that the one who gave birth and went through a near-death experience to produce the kids should get to pass on the name but that is not what history felt. On the other hand, the man did contribute his share too, albeit in a very lazy manner.
  3. Each time a child is born, put the two names in a hat and pick. Each child gets whatever comes out of the hat each time. This seems the most fair?
  4. Let the kid pick when it is old enough?
  5. Alternate names?
  6. Make a combination name. Bish/Brish or Frown? These are even worse than the hypen options.
  7. The BFG suggested just picking a brand new surname for all of us. So far his only suggestion has been Guppy. Which would be fiiiiine (I mean, it is so much better than Frown???) except that guppies are fish but they don’t come in brown. So it wouldn’t work.
  8. This is my favourite idea. Choose the first name that you really like and then choose which of the two surnames fits best with that name.  Like, for instance, I really like the name Finn (true story). But Finn Fish may cause some issues, just maybe.

Holy cow. This list is enough to make any conservative traditional person scream in horror. But it is a legitimate problem.

Or it would be if we were going to have kids. Which apparently we are not (but then that is another blog post, or a hundred).


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jerusha
    Jan 28, 2013 @ 09:00:59

    Gosh. I’ve been thinking about this so much — both my BF and I come from really conservative families where you change your surname to your husband’s and that’s that. But I feel like my surname is SUCH a big part of who I am I would be devastated to lose it. I like the idea of hyphenating! Fortunately, his is just one syllable because “Sukhdeo” is long and complicated enough!

    PS Finn Fish sounds pretty cool. He could be an artist.


  2. poseamonkey
    Jan 28, 2013 @ 09:34:23

    Jerusha there is so much history in your name, in every name, that I think it would be sad to lose it. I love that in Spanish speaking countries, they inherit both father and mother’s surname. They don’t double barrel, they just have two surnames, eg Fish Brown. You could give your kiddies your surname as a second second name, if you know what I mean, That is common, my Dad actually has his mom’s maiden name as a second second name because it is an 1820 Settlers name and she wanted to pass it down. Just a pity we don’t use two surnames here! In England my poor Spanish speaking friends had to double-barrel their names because the English people just could not conceive of and deal with two surnames. Lame.

    Anyway, your name is special and there are ways of keeping it!


  3. paulabubble
    Apr 08, 2013 @ 09:08:41

    I’m giving my babies dictionaries for names and then to add the cherry on the cake – their dad’s surname. I just have never thought otherwise and even still, it’s not a thing for me. I know for myself in marriage. I will keep my surname and tag his along for the ride (for the rest of my life) but other than that my babies are their dad’s kin. Same way I am my daddy’s.

    For me its just been fair, because what’s in a name, really (tis not hand, nor foot, nor arm nor face…. nor any other part belonging to a man) and in our tradition a man essentially “pays” for the right to give you his surname [not to “own” contrary to popular belief]. I know one guy who actually did take on his wife’s surname because that’s the way it used to be done way way way (you know, wearing skins for clothing) back in the day. And I was like power to him. If my husband chooses to do the same it really wouldn’t make any kind of difference to me (if he’s black though, you can forget even bringing it up because of our beliefs on what a name (surname in particular) means and what it means for your child)

    But def food for thought. But why though? I mean if you think about it if your baby Finn Brown-FIsh married I don’t know Jane Doe-Hancock, then they would want to carry on your tradition of compiling surnames on kids. You know, be all Brown-Doe-Fish-Hancock., Where does the buck stop?? And their babies marry other liberal babies…????

    I seem against the naming thing. I’ve just never questioned but now that I’ve had another opinion. I’d like to stay with my original thought. I’d give my babies his name and tag his to mine.


  4. paulabubble
    Apr 08, 2013 @ 09:11:42

    BUT should I fal preggo before marriage. Then its my surname and tag on the fathers. I don’t know. It just doesn’t feel like they “belong” to the father that way. Is that weird. It is right. UGH.


  5. Helen
    Nov 26, 2013 @ 12:16:24

    PO….. where’d you go?


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