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Mom-To-Be Baffled After ‘Manipulative’ MIL Insists Baby Have Her Maiden Name As Last Name

An older woman holding a baby.
Abraham Gonzalez Fernandez/Getty Images

It’s generally understood to be the norm that children will take their father’s surname.

However, as not all people take their husband’s or spouse’s surname, not to mention fathers aren’t always a factor in this progressive age, some couples choose to hyphenate their surnames for their children.

Of course, not all couples see the surname of their child as a terribly pressing issue, and won’t make a fuss one way or the other.

In fact, it is often the parents of the expecting couple who make the biggest stink about what their grandchild’s name will be, concerned about the “family name” living on.

Redditor and expecting mother LilRed9967 and her fiancé had already made their decision on what their first child would be named.

Taking the original poster (OP) by surprise, however, was the fact that her mother-in-law (MIL) also had a very strong opinion of what her first grandchild would be named.

While the OP made it clear that she would not be giving in to her MIL’s demands, the OP’s MIL was unwilling to take “no” for an answer.

Wondering if she was being unfair to her MIL, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for not putting my MIL’s Maiden name in my child’s name.”

The OP explained why she was unwilling to oblige her MIL’s request regarding her soon-to-be-born child’s name:

“My fiancé (24 M[ale]) and I (24 F[emale]) are expecting our first child in December of this year.”

“We don’t know the gender yet so we were picking names for both a boy and a girl.”

“We’ve fallen in love with names already.”

“My fiancé has his father’s last name, and that name is on his birth certificate.”

“While his mother has a completely different last name.”

“She has been hellbent on getting us to make the last name of our child her maiden name which neither of us have.”

“So in my head it just doesn’t make sense.”

“She has been very manipulative in the past with various things to the point where we have given in to just get her to leave us alone about things.”

“This time around she proceeded to guilt trip us on why we won’t give the child her last name.”

“She proceeded to throw the ‘I raised you he didn’t’ card and even said she was going to go to the court to change my fiancés last name which I found hilarious seeing he’s a grown adult.”

“Now mind you MIL has 4 sons, two of which have her maiden name as her last name and all four children are straight and have potential to bare children of their own in the future.”

“Im trying to convince my fiancé not to give in to even hyphenating her last name and keeping it just his current last name to help set early boundaries on raising this child.”

“But MIL has it so deep in his mind that he has to please her and that she’s entitled to make these decisions because she raised him.”

“Not to mention she had demanded to be at my gender ultrasound instead of waiting for the reveal we have planned at our baby shower.”

“So I’m just curious if I’m TA because I want our child to have his or her father’s last name and not their grandmothers?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation, by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

The Reddit community unanimously agreed that she was not the a**hole for refusing to give her baby her MIL’s maiden name.

Everyone agreed that the request of the OP was bizarre, and it was important for the OP not to give in. It set boundaries, particularly as her MIL had demonstrated manipulative behavior in the past:


“Why would you give your child a different last name than you have?”

“His mother had the choice with your partner and she gave him his fathers last name.”

“It’s not your job to fix that decision which she regrets.”

“And by the way, I wouldn’t give in for no other reason than if you bend on this, you’ll be setting a precedent and will never be able to make any decisions for your own child going forward without a war.”

“Setting a boundary now will be a lot less painful, but you and your partner need to get on the same page.”- northern225


“Here are some prompts for you to say:”

“Only choices are your last name or mine.”

“If you don’t make the choice, I will choose.”

“It will never be MIL’s last name.”

“Your mom is stressing me out.”

“She is banned from ALL doctor appts and from the delivery room.”

“You will be blocked too if you don’t clarify it to her.”

“If you don’t start to set better boundaries with your mom, I think we need to reevaluate our relationship and what it looks like going forward.”

“Therapy may be helpful.”

“But you can’t change someone – they have to want to change.”

“Good luck OP!”- Trick_Delivery4609


“You need to put your foot down and set some firm boundaries that you and your fiance agree to together.”

“Then he has to enforce them because she’s his mother, not yours.”

“Otherwise, this is only the beginning of your MIL meddling in your lives.”

“Ultimately, this is a relationship problem between you and your fiancé that you have to work through (perhaps through premarital counseling), not between you and your MIL.”-SoMuchMoreEagle


“A child having their paternal grandmother’s maiden name is completely nuts.”

“Historically, there are matrilineal societies, but these operate on the baby taking the mother’s name – the father’s side has nothing to do with it.”

“I’d fight fire with fire.”

“‘Your mother actually makes a really good point’.”

“‘I’m carrying this baby for 9 months, I really think he/she should have my maiden name!'”- leopardess87


“Tell hubby its his last name or its your last name.”

“He needy mother doesn’t have any say.”

“You wont sign any birth certificate with her name on it.”

“Tell her if it’s going to be a matriarchal thing the baby will have your mother’s last name.”-becoming_maxine


“Does your obgyn give you all the paperwork (including name) to fill out ahead of time?”

“Mine did and then you mail it in and come delivery time the paperwork is already filled out and it’s more just confirming your choice.”

“Might be easier to get it all taken care of ahead of time.”- kk112345

“Most definitely NTA.”

“My boyfriend and I have a saying: Only the people that were in the room when our son was made can make a decision about his life.”

“That also included who was in the delivery room – it was just him and I.”

“No one else.”

“Stand your ground.”

“This is YOUR child.”

“Not hers.”

“GOOD LUCK!”- thinkIgotitbutIdont

The OP later returned with a few updates, sharing how she and her fiancé intended to proceed with their child’s name and how they planned on handling her MIL.

“My fiancé and I have talked and we have agreed to give the baby his last name as I will be marrying him and taking the last name anyway.”

“Boundaries will be HEAVILY set with MIL, and appointments will be kept private between the two of us.”

“I thank all of you who have validated my feelings and who have given advice as this all has helped make us realize and make him realize that this is a creepy power control thing on her end.”

“We only want the best for baby, and we need to lay the law now, or it will never happen.”

“My SO has talked to his mother and made it clear to her that the name will be what we wanted.”

“Not what she wants.”

“She has seemed to let go of the subject as of right now but is still a bit upset about it.”

“She hasn’t answered his most recent text message regarding his reasoning, so it’s unclear how much of it she has let go of or come to terms with.”

“As for the 20 week ultrasound, I am having my OBGYN write a statement saying that only me and the father of the baby are welcome into the appointment at the time to avoid immediate conflict.”

“After that, steps will be taken to avoid letting anyone in on any of my appointments aside from my SO.”

“Thank you again for all your advice.”

It’s more than a little surprising that the OP’s MIL, or any soon-to-be grandparent for that matter, is unable to focus on anything other than their grandchild’s birth.

Hopefully, once she holds the little bundle of joy in her arms, her demands will be forgotten.

Otherwise, the OP’s MIL will have a very difficult relationship with her son, daughter-in-law, and grandchild going forward.

If she has any relationship with them at all…

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.