To make a long story short, I took my husband's last name. Gasp! I know, I know. And why did I do such a thing, you ask? Mostly because Utt and Grubb didn't exactly lend themselves to melodious combinations—Grutt and Uttubb didn't cut it—and I wanted our family to have a unified "team name."
was just as awful for me as you might imagine. The sick feeling in the pit of my stomach began when our officiant—against my emphatic instructions—pronounced us "Mr. & Mrs. Sam Grubb." I felt like I'd had the wind knocked out of me right there in the wedding garden. I guess that's what happens when you're proceeding with a decision that you know deep down isn't right for you.
By the time our first child was born two years later, I had come to the conclusion that, for me, embracing Utt and Grubb in all of their terrible-sounding glory was the only authentic way to go. I hyphenated my last name and our son's, and by the time our second son was born a couple more years later—drum roll please—my husband had decided to hyphenate his name too. He said that when he talked to our boys about things like equality and marriage being a
, he wanted those values reflected in his actions.
When we hear about what we're supposed to do and about the difficulties surrounding our options, we typically walk away missing two very important pieces of the puzzle that—when taken to heart—totally change the landscape of family naming.
First of all, we can choose what's best for us at any point during the process. There's no final act in this naming game. No fat lady singing. No final buzzer. It took my husband I nearly five years to settle on last names that we both feel good about.
And perhaps most importantly—this name dilemma thing applies to men, too. Regardless of what a couple ultimately decides, modern men have just as much of an obligation to consider modifying their last names for the good of the team as women do. And as women, it's up to us to make sure that they do.