Sparkles & Stretchmarks: A UK Parenting & Pregnancy Blog: Why We've Changed Our Family Name

Monday, 1 August 2016

Why We've Changed Our Family Name



If you're friends with me on Facebook, you may have noticed that my name has recently changed - instead of being Hayley McLean as I have been  since I started my profile all those years ago (and, indeed, since I was born!) - I am now Hayley McLean-Glass.

If you've been following me on social media, you'll no doubt be aware that my life has been very normal lately - there have certainly been no big occasions involving white dresses or churches going on.

So why the name change?

Well, as you may or may not know, Jon & I are not married.

This is something that I always assume that people know as I always refer to him as my partner rather than my husbands, but people often assume when you've been together for a while and you have children that you must be married.

But we're not.

The thing is - shortly before Jon & I got together, I called off a rather large wedding which had already been planned and paid for, invites sent over, bridesmaids asked to take part, and so on...And Jon has already been married once.

So marriage was never something that we talked about - not for any real reason, both of just assumed it was something we'd consider later down the line when the time was right - because having recently called off one wedding I just didn't feel that organising another one was something I wanted to do.

I know that a lot of people think a wedding doesn't have to be a big elaborate affair but I have always wanted the big white wedding and I just wouldn't want to give that ideal up - and the problem I faced was that I'd already chosen the perfect venue for me and the perfect dress - the problem had merely been that the groom wasn't right!

But how could I plan a wedding in those places, wearing that dress...with somebody else...it wouldn't seem right, would it? To keep everything else the same and just switch the groom - I could almost hear the jokes people would make and it just didn't feel like something I wanted to deal with - it made me feel awkward and embarrassed... and so we left it.

But then...along came Tyne.


And once you have children - things that cost a fair bit of money suddenly seem so much harder to save for - because there's always something else that we needed more. Birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, family holidays, a new pram, a new car seat, a bigger car....and before you know it, it's 3 years and 2 more children later and whoops - the wedding thing still hasn't happened.

But the thing is - it doesn't really matter to me.

We live as a married couple - we have a common law marriage, we have children together, we have a committed relationship - so do we really need to say some words in front of a vicar and sign a piece of paper to make that official? Is that really what makes a family? 

I personally don't think those things make a single bit of difference - I think what makes a family is the love and respect that they share between them.

It bothers me when I hear people make nasty comments about people having children out of wedlock because what does it matter?

Relationships break down every single day, and whether or not they're married makes very little difference other than making it more difficult to leave - and is that something that anybody would even want?! To be forced to stay together because it's easier than trying to get out of the marriage?! Of course not. So...why does it matter?

Jon & I both agree that we will get married when the time is right and we can do it the way we want to - but in the meantime, NOT being married has created some problems for us that we hadn't really thought about before...

When Tyne was born, we decided to give him both of our surnames hyphenated - this was because I am one of two girls and I didn't like the thought of my family name not being carried on, Jon was the one who suggested we use both names and it was the perfect solution.

And so we've carried that on with all of the boys - but we never realised how strange this must seem to others until our recent holiday, when a customs official remarked on the fact that all of us have different names.

I couldn't help but feel a bit embarrassed when this was pointed out, after all... it is quite unusual for neither parent to share the same complete name as their children.

And then I started to think about how confusing things may get when Tyne starts school, and his name is different to both of ours - filling in forms, teachers knowing how to address us - it all seemed like it was going to get complicated.

I didn't like that thought - and suddenly I yearned for all of us to have the same name - to be easily identifiable as a family, because that is exactly what we are - marriage certificate or no marriage certificate.

And so, a few online forms and £50 later - Jon & I have changed our names by deed poll, and taken each others surnames alongside our own - now the entire family is McLean-Glass - the perfect coming together of both of our families.

I'm not ruling out marriage for us one day, but I want it to be an occasion to celebrate the way we see fit - not a quick cheap & cheerful thing because it's all we can afford and we feel forced to do it fast.

But for now, our family name is the perfect resolution for us.

We don't need to be married to prove our families solidarity to anybody, and we don't need to be married to share the same name.

Families are tied at the heart, not by law alone.

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21 comments:

  1. Oh what a fantastic idea! It's lovely that you all have the same names now xx

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  2. Ah how exciting! I agree, marriage isn't the be all and end all and like you say, you have a common law marriage and that is all that matters legally etc etc. enjoy your new name!!! xx

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  3. I have been with my current partner for 13 and a half years (still not married) this does not mean we are not a family. In fact I feel we are just as much a family even with my two older children from a previous relationship in the mix. He took them in like his own and some years later we welcomed the youngest one into the mix. We have 3 surnames between us my older two have their dad's (my ex partners) my youngest and his dad (my current OH) and me all on my lonesome. I too am one of two girls ... the last of my line. Im not sure I really want to lose that either.
    Deed poll sounds a great option though, and one day I may too decide to marry him (and hyphenate) but for now we are perfectly happy ... just like yourselves.

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  4. Well thank god you hadn't eloped and done it all in secret!

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  5. Ah how lovely, makes total sense! :) xx

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  6. Fair play for going along and doing what you want to do. There is no right or wrong answer or that matters is a loving family home X

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  7. This is lovely. It seems like the perfect solution to those practical issues of having different surnames, and I think it's lovely that you don't feel under pressure to be married whatever the costs and compromises. Your wedding one day will be a beautiful celebration of the family that you already are... and you'll already have changed your name! x

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  8. A good friend of mine had a terrible experience at an airport when an immigration officer saw her surname was different to her daughters. They all had to be questioned. She didn't want to risk it again so deed poll did the trick. There's no wedding on the cards. Just a happy family 😊

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  9. Ed and I are not married either but we all have the same family name now thanks to deedpoll. I felt exactly the same, and made sure it was all sorted before Dylan started school. x

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  10. I can totally understand where you are coming from, being married doesn't make a family love does!

    #anythinggoes

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  11. What a great solution and lovely idea. I agree marriage is not important, as long as everyone is happy. #AnythingGoes

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  12. I love this - me and my other half aren't married and I often wonder what we should do now that we have Emma. I've never been 100% sure that I want to get married but the name change is a lovely way to celebrate the togetherness :-) #bestandworst

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    1. Just popping back again from #dreamteam to say thank you for linking up again lovely - great to have you! xx

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  13. Wow I love what you have done changing your names to all match! Good on ya! My parents have both been married and divorced three times each so I was always anti marriage but my hubby and I just went and did it one afternoon and then went off and watched kings of Leon! No pressure just how we wanted to do it #ablogginggoodtime

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  14. I have had problems with passport control as my surname was different to the boys. I hadn't changed my passport to my arrived name. I had to travel with a copy of the kids birth certificate. You final statement sums it up perfectly though families are ties at the heart. I am glad you found a solution that works for you! ❤️ Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime 🎉

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  15. What a lovely post. I have been with my fiance for 7 years now and we have a daughter together. We have a common law marriage as you said. I would love to get married but I think it is something we will do in the far future at there was more important things to save and spend on than a wedding at the moment. We basically already live the marriage. I love the fact you both changed your name by deed poll, even though you are already a family unit I bet this has made it that little bit more concrete. #dreamteam

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  16. I love this! How wonderful! I am personally married but like you said about timing, we got married at the right time for us and it just so happened it was before we had children. I couldn't have contemplated it now, as we have three children and cost would be an issue! By no means did I get married because I thought I had to - but you can never please others because I remember a lot of people at the time were asking if I was pregnant but it took a further 3 year before our child came along as that wasn't the reason. I was quite insulted that people thought that was the reason behind my marriage. The right timing (and partner) is important and in today's society, and people should be more understanding about the diverse families we have. Life is so wonderful because we have choices. Many years ago a lot of people got married and lived both in a happy or unhappy marriage, simply because they had to! It's nice now that we have a choice! Your family sounds fantastic and you are living life similarly as most of us are - in a strong, caring, family unit - so what on earth is the difference? Life is too short and precious to worry about things like this because it's your family that's important - I know that's what's important to me and I really don't think that fact makes a difference one bit! The relationship itself is what matters :) Thanks for linking up, this is a great post #AnythingGoes Janet

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  17. Absolutely agree with you, such valid points and as long as you, your partner and the kids are the happy that is the main thing. Thanks for linking up! #bestandworst

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  18. I think you are sensible, so many people rush into marriage, especially when they have children. I've been with my partner for 16 years and I've already been married before, he hadn't. He's always wanted to get married but I couldn't see the point. The kids have his name which is much nicer than my surname. I've confused many a person by being Mrs 'differentnametomykids' This year I've decided to do something about it and change my name too...only...I've changed my mind about getting married!

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  19. What a lovely post, and congrats on your family name change!

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  20. Beautiful post and such a lovely idea! My partner and I feel exactly the same but unfortunately our names joined would just sound silly. So for now I'm the only one with a different name! ox

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