This article in the NYTimes about the dilemma of hyphenated last names really rubs me the wrong way. It doesn't provide any real solutions about how to balance conflicting perspectives and needs.
For example, figuring out the last name dilemma was easy when I got married. I kept my last name and Matt kept his. However, the struggle came when our son, Henry, joined our family. I really didn't want to hyphenate because of the logistical hardship of having a cumbersome last name, but I also wanted his name to embody the idea that he came from both of us. I wasn't comfortable relegating my last name to his middle name, since middle names are rarely ever shared (for aesthetic reasons, it sounds better when my name comes first, which is why we didn't even consider using Matt's last name for Henry's middle name).
For us, we really had no other choice but to hyphenate. We didn't know how Henry was going to deal with his hyphenated last name when (and if) he got married, but we went with the hyphenation anyway.
But then I read a brilliant solution on A Practical Wedding. Here's how it works. Both Matt and I would combine our names with a hyphen. I'm Sara Cotner; he's Matt Bradford, so we would become Sara Cotner-Bradford and Matt Cotner-Bradford (or whichever order sounds better). All our children would also be Cotner-Bradford's. Then if Henry gets married to a woman with a hyphenated last name (let's pretend her name is Ellie Pearson-Becker), they would each drop one of their last names to combine only two names with a hyphen. Since Henry is male, he would drop his mom's family name. Since Ellie is female, she would drop her dad's family name. They would both become Bradford-Becker. (There would be slight variations for gay families.)
In my mind, it's such an elegant and simple solution! Parents and their children all have the same last names, there are only ever two names hyphenated at one time, males pass along the male family name, and females pass along the female family name.
So what this means for Matt and me is that we might legally change our last names to Cotner-Bradford. It's not something we worried about during the wedding planning process because we already had enough stuff to figure out and focus on. It's been great to have time to sort through all of these questions and issues together.
Professional photography can seriously be the bane of your wedding budget. That's why I'm delighted to announce that Jasmine of Frolic Storytelling is hosting a delicious contest to give away free wedding photography for a couple getting married by March 2012.
No, I'm not preparing for pregnancy yet. My plan is to give birth to a school and a community and then see how we feel about having another child.
But I am eager to participate in the final Purposeful Conception course of the year. I was at my healthiest when I was preparing for conception in the eight months before Matt and I started trying. I'm eager to prioritize myself again.
I got negative feedback about the fact that I didn't contribute much in the community area during the last course, so I'm looking forward to participating frequently this time around.
I'd love it if you could join us! See more details below...
Are you thinking about getting pregnant or are you already actively trying? Welcome to Purposeful Conception! This course is for all of us.
The idea is simple: bringing a baby into the world is both an overwhelming joy and a life-changing commitment. When we approach conception with intention and purpose, we create a welcoming and prepared space for children in our lives. Many of us spend months or years planning our weddings and/or working to advance our careers. Why not also devote time toward preparing to bring a child into the world?
This online course will help us position our minds, bodies, and lives for pregnancy. Over the course of four weeks, a new lesson will be uploaded each weekday. The lessons will address a whole host of topics, such as preparing your body through solid nutrition and exercise, finding balance between what you can and cannot control, making space in your life for pregnancy, deciding whether to track your cycle, building a solid partnership as a foundation for your future family, and much, much more. As a participant in the course, you'll receive information, tips, reflection exercises and prompts, and a community of like-minded kindred spirits who are on a journey similar to your own.
We're the kind of people who would rather be outside than in. We drink mostly water. A lot of it. We're the kind of people who put on costumes at Halloween and drive around town delivering brownies (with bows) to friends and random people in the service industry. We cook four nights a week and eat out three. We're passionate about making the world better, and we spend lots of time actually trying to do it.