baa baa black sheep

3.20.2007

Compromise

7:29 a.m.

I'm nervous about putting our last names on my blog. Because of searchers. But my last name sounds like Way End. It's a good last name. Justin's last name is a bit longer, and a solid name. Along the lines of Johnson.

I've been agonizing a ridiculous amount lately over whether or not I should keep my maiden name. A RIDICULOUS. AMOUNT. My first instinct was, "No. No way, no way, I am definitely keeping my last name." Then I thought about it quite a bit, and talked with Justin. He is completely open to what I decide. He would prefer we have the same last name, but he understands why I would want to keep my own. So he told me to do whatever I want. My last name, is, after, all, my name. And a cool one at that. He understands. For a long time I thought I should take his, but the little identity doubts remained. Then I thought maybe I could keep my last name professionally, for my art, and his last name socially. But this seems confusing, and my last name wouldn't legally be mine anymore.

I want us to be unified as a family unit, and I want our children to have his last name. I've no problem with that, and think unity is important. The problem is that I feel as if my identity is wrapped up in my name. I love it, I feel connected to it, and it makes me feel connected to my parents. I really do hate that women are expected to change their names. It's a huge hassle. It makes it harder for people to find someone who has changed a name. And again, for some women, it's giving up part of the identity, a piece of who they are. It makes me really upset, to think about not having my name.

But again, I want the unity.

I really don't want to do hyphenation. For various hyphenation reasons.

So what I am thinking is this: keeping my last name as a second middle name, and taking Justin's last name as well. I am woman enough for four names. Obviously. I think it's a good compromise. This way, I could keep signing my art with my last name, without it being false, but I can sign legal documents with Justin's and not fight with every single person I know when they address things to Mrs. So and So.

And my name will still be mine.

And I will still be me.

Love,
black sheeped

9 Comments:

Blogger Swistle said...

I had this same struggle. I love my maiden name, and I don't like Paul's last name. Also, I hate the whole way the name-change system is set up--and yet I didn't want to buck it, because that's such a hassle and so confusing and such a problem when there are children. ARRRG. We almost decided to BOTH take a totally new last name, but rejected that as confusing, too. Finally I did exactly what you're doing: made my maiden name a second middle name.

It's slightly confusing, but it's been okay. I gave my maiden name to the children, too, as their second middle names.

I found I needed to choose which middle initial would be my default initial, since many many programs and forms and credit cards only allow one middle initial.

10:27 AM, March 20, 2007  
Anonymous coffee stained said...

Totally understand where you're coming from. I also did exactly what you and Swistle did (I knew we were likeminded!), but also ran into problems with the middle initial thing--in some places it is E, in others it is T. Whatevs. When I was working, I used my maiden name professionally, and also for search reasons. It is a distinct name in the US b/c the spelling is unique to people in my family (i.e., if you search my maiden name in google, the results will all be people related to me). I can't really articulate why it was important to me that I not lose this particular coincidence. It is something that I like a lot though.

12:31 PM, March 20, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can I please, please, please learn how to play "Mrs. Robinson" on the guitar and sing it as "Mrs. Robertson" at the Wedding Kegger?

Love,
sister.

1:03 PM, March 20, 2007  
Blogger Black Sheeped said...

Dear Sister,

Thank you for destroying my attempt to keep the last name secret.

Also, no.

LOVE
me

1:42 PM, March 20, 2007  
Blogger desperate housewife said...

I didn't really like my maiden name and it was always being misspelled, so I was kind of happy to change it. But I totally get why you'd want to keep yours.
We did what Swistle did, and gave Adelay my maiden name as her second middle name, too. My grandpa requested this, as he has no male grandchildren with his last name. I think we'll probably do it with this next one too.

1:57 PM, March 20, 2007  
Blogger Mommy Daisy said...

I think that's a great idea just to add Justin's last name onto your existing name. Seems like a good compromise. Guess the last name wasn't a problem for me. Our last name is not fun most of the time, but my maiden name was often mispronounced anyway. I had at one time thought about using my maiden name as a middle name for a son, because it is similar to Jeremy. But it's not Jeremy and people would say it like that, and they would be wrong. I thought that would bug me. So, I lost my maiden name completely when I got married. I'm used to it now. Actually I got used to it right away, because being a teacher I get called Mrs. S...... all the time, and we got married while I was in college so I adjusted quickly. Oh, and an added bonus is that my middle name starts with a J as did my maiden name. So when I was signing my new married name at first, if I forgot and started writing a J I could just turn that into my middle initial. Worked out wonderfully.

8:06 PM, March 20, 2007  
Anonymous dionna said...

I'm so confused by Wordpress right now. I had no idea you commented on my site until I scrolled down the page and saw the comment number had changed on that post. Wha?? I'm supposed to get an email! I'd be emailing you back right now - but instead you get a psycho-long comment on your blog.
First - public bathrooms. I have a friend who does several "courtesy flushes" - but only to hide the noise. ;)

Second - My s/o and I had a last name discussion recently. It came up because of an article I read about a GUY who wants to take his GIRL's last name, but they're running into a lot of legal difficulties. Our discussion went a little bit like this:

Tom: “What’s the big deal anyway? What’s in a name? You can’t take it with you!”

Dionna: “So that means you won’t mind taking my last name when we get married?”

Tom: “Hell no!”

Dionna: “But you just said what’s in a name – if it’s not important, why can’t we have my last name?”

Tom: “It has more letters. It takes longer to write.”

Pffttt...

Sorry for the insanely long comment :)

11:12 PM, March 20, 2007  
Blogger linz said...

Interesting debate, indeed, and probably way past the statue of limitations on a comment being valid.. but my mom did the same thing, only she uses her maiden name as her middle name. Completely dropping her old middle name (which in her case happened to be insignificant in any major way) and uses it as her middle name on any legal documentation. But I, for example, still know her full four names.

11:50 PM, March 30, 2007  
OpenID parkingathome said...

I did this too, except with a whole lot of fun complication.

From birth to 21 I went by my middle name, and then suddenly decided it WAS NOT ME and went by my first.

Then when I got married I changed my name to First name, Maiden name, New Last name, and eliminated original middle.

My family cannot accept the name change, it's been three years and they still call me by the middle name, send cards and letters to it, and in an unfortunate case, sent me a reimbursement-for-a-present check to old middle name, new last name. My bank, thankfully, had record of the old name and allowed me to cash it, but it's been so much trouble.

I'm happy with it though, and that's all that matters.

5:49 PM, March 26, 2008  

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