Equally Shared Parenting - Half the Work ... All the Fun



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Here's where we keep you updated on news about parenting as it relates to division of responsibilities, career versus home decisions, work/life balance, and legislative and grass-roots movements toward equality or better choices for families. We'll also throw in our opinions of life as equal parents in a nonequal world, regardless of what's in the news.

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Equality Blog

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Name Conundrum

After we had turned in the first draft of our manuscript, our editor asked us how we wanted to print our names on the book's cover. Would we be Amy and Marc Vachon, Marc and Amy Vachon, Amy Vachon and Marc Vachon? Seems like a simple query, but we know it is actually a mini-minefield.

Over these past few years, we've gotten used to the occasional question about why we've placed one of our names before the other, or why Amy chose to take my name when we married. After all, we're all about bucking tradition. So why do we sometimes sound like Ozzy and Harriet when it comes to our names?

There's been plenty of discussion elsewhere about how no perfect naming solution exists for parenting couples (either for themselves or for their children). Many ESP couples indeed do buck tradition - giving one child a mother's surname and the next a father's, or making up a new last name that combines the two names, etc. Many ESP moms keep their maiden names, some take their husband's last name as a new middle name (with their husbands doing likewise)...and some do as we have done by appearing to stick with tradition. Truth be told, our shared last name of Vachon just felt right to both of us. Amy had several reasons for wanting to shed her previous name, and genuinely loved my family's surname. We both like the idea, for us, of sharing a last name. It's our team name, and ESP is all about being a team together.

So back to the 'simple' question of how to appear on our book cover. Do we go with the classic feminist (and in this case, alphabetical, too) approach of 'Amy and Marc Vachon,' or do we perhaps separate our names to retain our individual identity, or is there something meaningful about my name appearing first...something that might draw attention to the idea that equally shared parenting is not just a woman's desire (as so much of the parenting literature is positioned) - that it appeals equally to men.

In the spirit of Team Vachon, we decided to go with joined rather than separate names. But who appears first? This book was written by both of us. The order of our names doesn't matter to either of us; what's inside - our message - is the key. And our equality message is neither 'women first' nor 'men first.' In the end, we took a very scientific approach. We got out our highly calibrated equality data collection instrument and flung it high in the air. "Heads," we called.

It will be 'Marc and Amy Vachon.'

3 Comments:

Anonymous Noble Savage said...

It really can be tricky with the name issue, certainly. I didn't take my husband's name when we married but when I was pregnant with our first child I adopted it. I would've liked us to both have taken each other's names but my husband grew up with a double barreled name and hated it so while he was happy for me to keep my name, he wasn't prepared to take on an extra one.

We briefly considered giving each child one of our surnames but that felt too much like "your kid/my kid" for my tastes. I also didn't want to give our chldren his name and be the only one not sharing it. I do sometimes wish I'd held out and found some other kind of compromise that worked but I'm quite happy with us all having the same name and don't feel any more my husband's "property" than when I had my father's name. It's an emotive issue though.

I like that you used the ol' coin toss to decide...always a classic. I'm looking forward to reading your book!

12:24 AM  
Anonymous Jenn said...

Simple and easy.
The cover looks great, by the way!

3:28 PM  
Blogger sauce said...

I've kept my name and our sons will have my name too. His name just does not sound anything like me. It doesn't fit. The children of his brother will carry his name onwards. I am an only child and my father too, so if I don't keep the name, it dies out with my father. It would have been nice to give the kids two last names, but that is not allowed over here. (Netherlands)

2:51 PM  

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