Friday, April 15, 2011

Papa don't preach

But I'm keeping my name.  Both of them.

For now.

It started when I went to fill out my "new" name on my driver's license form.  I wrote it, and it bugged me, and so I put the paperwork away.  Then the badging form I had to fill out to be allowed into the courthouse needed a last name.  So I put mine on it.  Then it was all the forms and paperwork I filled out to start my job.  Then the application to be a notary.  Then the form to renew my passport.

On all of these things, I put my "maiden" name.  Which I keep getting asked if it's my "married" name.  To which I would like to say, "eff you, it's my name and why should it matter?"  I kept meaning to change it, and not doing it.  When I sat down to change it, I didn't want to.  And I started thinking about all of the advantages of having a crazy long name.  Like that people remember me as that girl with a crazy last name.  And I'm the only one of me.  And I share this name with my sister, and we're in this together.  And I was never really going to share my name with my husband, so why not just

The name change decision is a process, and there is no right solution, and it evolves over time.  My current plan is to hold off on picking a last name until we have kids.  Yes, it will be annoying and a ton of paperwork.   But I'm not ready to give up such a big part of who I am.  Ultimately, I can't give you any advice on how you'll feel - but I can assure you - having different last names doesn't make us feel less married.  Or like less of a family.

My only real concern about my last name is that we've had more than a few clients come through our office who aren't mentally stable.  I'm nervous about these people going home and looking me up on the internet.  This was never really a concern of mine before, but it is now, and I'm not sure how to protect my privacy.  Suddenly there is more and more merit to the idea of going socially by my husband's last name - changing my name on Facebook, giving that name to races that we run, etc. Except that I don't want to go by his last name, never have, and it is unlikely I ever will.  So although using his name socially would be a solution, I'm not totally comfortable with it.  Any suggestions?


  1. The name change is such an individual decision! I haven't changed mine yet but I do plan on taking the plunge soon. We'll see how I feel when I actually have to make the change. Your idea is interesting, especially in the privacy-issue times. Good luck!

  2. A year ago I was pretty darn sure I wanted to add Mr. Beagle's last name on at the end of mine, and that he would take my last as his middle. But now the thought of all the paperwork is really making me rethink this idea.

    You are very right that it is an evolving process.

  3. I have to say, it sounds like your thoughts on this decision are exactly the same as mine. At first, I thought I would do it. So I got the SS paperwork and filled it out. But first I made an online donation to some charity with the name Kate F B, no hyphen but as a 3 word name. I did this so that I would get junk mail in that name. I still get that mail and have the same gut reaction that I did the first time: "That's not me."

    I feel the same way that maybe when we have kids I will change, but I will most likely hyphenate. Also, I don't know if we will have kids, and if we do I know for sure that they will be a long time down the road since we're unable to have "accidents", so by that time will I be so attached to my name both emotionally and career wise that changing it would be a huge burden? I guess only time will tell.

    That is my advice to newly weds though, change your name on something completely insignificant, like a magazine subscription. If it fits you, go further. But if it doesn't, you haven't committed.

  4. Yep, evolving process. If you're going to use a different name socially, you can make one up?

  5. It's tough, and I have similar feelings. What I'd really like to do is make up a shared last name so that we'd both have to change it to something we both like. Daniel's not down for that, but maybe you guys would be.

  6. I totally get you. I have been married for 2 months and I've switched everything over at work to my new, hyphenated last name. Nothing is legally changed yet, but it was a way to get my feet wet and..... well... it sucks! I know there's a learning curve and I hope it gets easier. The legal plunge is coming soon and a dread it. Good luck to you in finding a balance that feels right and good.

  7. Evolving indeed, and I completely relate. Conversely, I was quite opposed to changing my name from the beginning. Immediately following our wedding his grandpa actually insisted that I write it down a few times to practice. (I'd already done this on my own to see how it felt). The more his family nudged me, the firmer my stance became. Fortunately, he just wanted to marry me and it wasn't his central issue, but he wasn't quite ready to push back against his family either.

    Funny thing is, I guess I assumed my side would understand, or even be honored that I wanted to retain my name, but as it turns out they were just as traditional as I should have remembered.

    There's a part of me that wants to embrace being the "lone feminist." There's a part of me that just wants to keep my identity "as is." Another part of me sways with the crowd, thinks about children, and the solidarity of a single name. And yet again, another resents that it's not mine that's under consideration!

    I actually like his name more, aesthetically. Now we're preparing to start a business together... At any rate, sorry I have no suggestions, but I'm glad I'm not the only one taking my time to decide.

  8. I've found it is a process too and keep going back and forth. Right now my plan is similar to yours, to leave my name as is (skip the paperwork) and go socially by his last name. Maybe. Or maybe I'll just keep mine altogether and not be mad when someone calls me by his last name.

    I do think if I was getting pressure from him, his family, or my family it would probably push me in the other direction. On principle. I would embrace the "lone feminist" anonymous!

    Some hope if you decide to do it later, a friend of mine just changed her name three years after the wedding and it wasn't a hassle at all (at least more than it would be right after the wedding). All she needed was a copy of her marriage certificate (rather than going through the courts to change her name).

    Wait it out, see how you feel when kids arrive. Good luck!

  9. funny -- i am not even engaged yet and we've already had this talk!