Kind of a Big Deal

So in the frustration of my insomnia, I forgot to update y’all on something big that happened recently. 

Finally, after nearly five years of marriage, I’ve assumed my wife’s last name.

The decision to do this did not come lightly, and for years now, I’ve been weighing the pros and cons of the whole thing. But with Dumplin’ on the way, and our desire to travel as much as possible with him, it made practical sense to all share the same last name.

Now, what’s in a shared name really? Well, it conveys a family tie. I know that lots of people do not share the same last name as their kin, but for us, and especially as a same-sex family, it allows a sort of convenience especially with things like daycare or school matters, as well as travelling as a family or as a parent with our child(ren). 

How did we decide whose last name to share?

Well, in our case, we had to weigh the pros and cons of both last names, as well as the different allowable permutations of them.

DW’s last name:

– is Scottish in origin

– is easy to pronounce, phonetically

– is not very common

My last name:

– is Chinese in origin, with Taiwanese spelling

– is a phonetical nightmare, so no one ever pronounces it correctly (to no fault of their own), and people always assume that the spelling of it is wrong (I’ve actually had people tell me that the spelling of my last name must be wrong- imagine how that makes a person feel about themselves!)

– is not common at all (the only people in my hometown phone book with my last name are actual relatives of mine)

Growing up with my last name, I was always embarrassed of it, even though my grandpa wore it with pride. To this day, I hate the reactions and looks of confusion when people are surprised that a last name like mine even exists. People make stupid jokes to cover up their discomfort with it, which makes me feel even worse. To. This. Day. 

So it was kind of a no-brainer that I would never want to do this to our kid. So we had decided that Dumplin’ would have DW’s last name. For a while, we considered hyphenation too, but having friends with hyphenated names, I knew it was a pain in the ass for things like forms and scantron cards. So we decided against that.

Professionally, as a chiropractor and as a teacher, I have always gone by my last name, and have built up a good reputation within that identity. So professionally, I will continue to be Dr. (My Lastname). 

In my personal life however, I will be known as Mrs. (DW’s last name), and while I do feel some sadness over no longer having my last name in my name at all, I know that my origins are traceable via my birth certificate. For some time, we considered moving my last name to the end of my middle name, as is the tradition in my mother’s culture, but that kind of name change is considered a legal name change here, so I would have to have the change made on my birth certificate too- which I did not want. Like I said, I want my origins to be traceable, and keeping my birth certificate untouched somehow makes me feel that way.

So now, I have a crapload of updating to do due to this name change:

– Service Canada to update my SIN 

– New passport photos and application (ugh, huge pain in the ass)

– Service Ontario to update ownerships for our cars

– all credit cards and bank accounts

– all auto payments coming from my credit cards or bank accounts

– Revenue Canada

– Costco membership

– Gym membership

– Health insurance provider

– All health care providers

– HR at work

Did I miss anything?
With Dumplin’ on the way, I wanted the name change done before his birth so that my new name is on his birth certificate. 

We like to travel, and plan on travelling as a family, so we wanted to all have the same last name. I have friends who have different last names than their children, and have to provide a signed and notarized document proving that they are in fact the child’s parent, and that they have permission from the other parent to be travelling with the child alone. Going through that shenanigans would suck, as would having to “out” ourselves every time we do it. “Yes, he is my child. Here is permission from his other mother. Here is our marriage certificate.” Ugh. Keep in mind that most countries do not have a human rights code like Canada’s, and customs officers can make your life a living hell with no justification required.

So that’s that. The change has been made. I have a temporary paper drivers licence and health card until my new plastic ones come in the mail. 

Did you change your last name when you got married? Why or why not?

What last name will or do your children have?

Do you have small children that you travel with? What is your experience like- with a different last name, or as a non-conventional family? 

I’d love to hear your experiences.