Our Discussions

Using Maiden name ( a madar)

1 (a madar)
My four year old daughter asked me last night why is your last name different from mine (I use my maiden name professionally). She told me that all her friends' moms have the same last name as their daughters. I told her that my last name was like my dad's and her last name was like her dad's, and that seem to satisfy her. Has any of you (madaran) been faced with this question from your children? If so, what did you tell them? I don't want her to feel disconnected from me.
2 (a madar)
I thought of this when I got married, I wanted to have the same last name as my kids and yet I could not let go of my maiden name( my name, my identity). Therefore I added the new last name to the old one, yes I have a long foreign name but it makes me happy : )
3 (a pedar)
Another thing we have done is use the maiden name as a middle name of the child, that works for us.
4 (a madar )
We have done the same thing, both our boys have my last name as their middle names
5 (a madar)
I did the same thing too, despite my ex-husband's dislike of the matter!!
6 (a madar)
my husband has no problem with their middle names if any of you pedaran aziz has a problem with the kids having their moders last name as their m.n please tell us why
7 (a madar)
I use my maiden name and my husband had no problem with my kids having my last name as their middle name. The only problem I have with this is that for our children to have 3 unusual names (first, middle & last). I left my children's middle names blank, because I think they should have the right to have an American name as their middle name if they choose to have one. We as Iranian parents most of the time choose a Persian name for our kids and they have no other choice than using their father's last name. I feel that it is only fair to give them one little choice of having a "normal" middle name in case if they are unhappy with our choices. Both my kids love their names. They did ask me before why I still have my maiden name and I explained to them that there is no reason for women to change their last names to their husbands last name. My older daughter is now 12 and appreciates it. When they are younger they have a hard time at school because their friends think their parents are divorced and that bothers some young kids. I am hoping that my two daughters will be strong enough to keep their last names even if they marry to an American with easy names like "Smith" or "Jones".
8 (a pedar)
I remember that in Iran most (if not all) wives kept and used their own last/maiden name - at least it was so within all the people that I know (friends/family/neighbors/parents' colleagues/ teachers/etc). This seems to be a mostly Western tradition, where wives keep their husbands last name, even after divorce and death; Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onasis (that is what it says on her stone).
We also do not have middle names in Iran - at least not in the formal sense as in the US - maybe nicknames or "dareh gooshi" names but typically not a formal middle name.
So I can only speculate as to why even a middle name. Is it so that the kids do not feel different from the other kids, majority of whom do have middle names?
To be fair, my daughter has a middle name which is essentially the English version of her first name; i.e. Yassaman Jasmine. We picked the middle so as to ease the pronunciation of her name by the native population and to also give her a middle initial like most of the other kids. Some may think it is redundant but since we as Iranians do not have middle names we picked Jasmine as a helper to Yassaman.
The only thing that would concern me about the mother's maiden name is that if may sound awkward to Iranian ears when projected along with the father's last name. For example Alireza Shariatmadari Khalilpour-Tehrani-asl is a bit too long (OK so I picked an extreme example! :-)
Otherwise I can't see why not. However let's remember that most, if not all of the mothers who carry their maiden name got it from their own fathers and not their mothers. Do you use your mother's maiden name as your middle name? :-)
9 (a madar)
Salaam Madar #1,
I'm in the same boat as you. It has been mostly an issue with the teachers etc. who will call me with my husbands last name when I volunteer in the classroom!!
But for my daughter, I simply explained what I believe is the truth. I said each person has a last name, your dad and me each have our own. That _some_ mom's ( and a few dad's (yes I have actually met one man who has done this!!) change their last name and pick their husbands/wife's last name when they marry , but that was hard for me and I decided to keep my own. With kids however, it has been our tradition to give them one of the two and it has been always the father's. In some countries (i.e. Spain) the give them both, but it ends up beeing very long. To her protests as to it not being fair and why my last name was not given to her, I simply told her, it wouldn't be fair either way and that when she grows up she can decide what last name she wants to have and change it as she likes. That seemed to calm her. But still to this date (she is nine) she will sometimes say her last name and then say "or " and give my last name!! And I must confess that it somehow warms my heart when she does it!!
It might seem too much to explain, but , at least with my daughter, it was not too much and she seemed to understand it and we went over it a few times (at different ages).
hope this helps,
10 (a mother)
One reason I have always shyed away from marriage is because I haven't wanted my surname to change. It's been an age old tradition which I never used to question, but the moment I tried it out on myself I found I didn't like it. I'm very proud of my birth name and would thus like to keep it. I'm glad others feel the same way.
11 (a mother)
Who was the first US woman to keep her maiden name?
12 (a web visitor)

I have been married for two years and have not officially changed my name to my husband's. I do not consider myself a feminist, and yet, I am surprised when I talk to those women whom I consider such and they are taken back by me keeping my maiden name. I too, would also like to know the first US woman to keep her maiden name. To keep one's maiden name seems to be a Western culture, but at what point in this country founded by Europeans, did it become customary to change one's name to her husband's?

13 (a mother )

I don't know the historical answers to your questions - but I do know that traditionally, Iranian women keep their maiden names and do not take their husband's family name. I believe this is true of many cultures. I also don't think that it's a "feminist" act as it used to be considered in the US several decades ago. I use my maiden name as a middle name at this point but in hind site wish that I had kept my maiden name as a last name because my husband's name is sooooooo long and confusing to american people. too late now. We also know of a couple where the Iranian husband took the wife's last name - his name is now very much westernized - I think it helps him in his business. and yes - if, when you have children, I don't believe there will be a problem if your last name is different than your husband/kids - there are so many children in kindergarten and elementary school these days with parents having different last names - the school directories (and software) have figured out how to deal with it. At our school of apx. 400 kids, I can say there are easily at least 30 parents where moms have different last names and not because of divorces/remarried, etc - but original parents. good luck. Please send your replies and/or opinions regarding this subject to madar-pedar@surya.eecs.berkeley.edu.

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