Mother shares how she felt 'embarrassed' when having to address having different surnames than her son and how she has decided to cope with it.
The present-day family dynamics look quite different from the way it was decades ago. People are no longer adhering to societal impositions and trying to fit in one box. There are people who don't believe in marriage or ones who do get married but don't change their last names. People follow their hearts to live life on their terms. Kayla Sullivan—who goes by @kaylamariesully on TikTok—has also etched a life for herself in which she has prioritized her own needs and people close to her. She doesn't regret it one bit, but a few days ago she felt a bit overwhelmed while making Christmas cards for her son's teachers. The reason was that her son didn't share her last name, per Parents. This led to an outpouring of support which caused her to make a reel in which she addressed this situation.
Sullivan says, "It has been nearly five years, and I still find myself randomly crying and mourning over the fact that I don't have the same last name as my son and I never will." The thing that was sending her over the edge was writing "Allan's Mom" in parenthesis. As she shared in the video there were no regrets regarding the situation at hand, it was their choice and they as a unit were happy with it. The struggle was in the fact that the card did not reflect how bonded she and her son are in real life. There was an implication that they were apart which they aren't, the mother-son duo are as much of a family as any other parent-child pair in the class. A surname does not change any of that.
Turns out Sullivan was not the only one going through that struggle and there were many in the same boat as hers. She got many messages of support and encouragement. Feeling such an outpouring of kindness she made another video to express her gratitude for the support. The caption of the mom's video read, "Thanks to everyone who offered kind words the night I posted this issue on my story! It made me feel so much better and less alone. That’s why I am asking you to comment with advice on how to cope with a different last name as your child or if you’re also struggling with ths share your story on here so others feel less alone!"
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She begins the video by saying, "I hope this video makes others feel less alone." Thereafter she goes on to speak about the feeling of embarrassment that creeped up on her while making her son's Christmas Cards. The fact that they are not in a conventional set-up got to her. However, people on the internet had her back. She explained, "I was never married to my son's father but I did give my son his last name." The mother is alright with this arrangement. She stated, "I don't want to change it for a multitude of reasons."
Sullivan goes on to share the method she has decided to use to cope with this issue. She added, "What I want to focus on is not focusing on the last name." Kayla informed her audience that she has recently been engaged and plans on taking her husband's last name. The fiance already has a son from his last relationship, and all three of them will share the last name. Therefore, changing her own son's last name will make him an odd one out, which she doesn't want. Instead, she aims to reduce the relevance of her last name from her family traditions. She elucidates, "We will not be putting our last name on Christmas Cards. I don't want rugs or signs that say our last name because I don't want my son to feel left out."
The objective Kayla had in creating this video was to make space for parents who are going through the same situation. The comment section had its own takes on this emotional scenario. @kids_and_the_commute shared her own experience and wrote, "As the kid who never had the last name of her parents or her siblings, the most important feeling is belonging. Being someone’s daughter and sister isn’t about sharing a surname, it’s about feeling you’re truly part of a family and being loved by those people." @arewethereyet13 suggested an interesting plan and commented, "We mashed all the last names together and made a new one. The Bakendales. Bates, Kent, Tisdale."
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