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Monday, October 24, 2011

Taking "his" name

This story on HuffingtonPost came to my attention because it appeared on Facebook, and I read it because I've been thinking about this issue quite a bit lately.  The writer is a young (30 year old) "feminist" who's planning to take her husband's name when she gets married, and she's feeling guilty about it, and is somewhat surprised that she wants to.

Of course, I didn't change my name when I got married almost 20 years ago.  And mostly, after 2 kids, it's been a big hassle.  It might have been different if we'd stayed in Philadelphia, a bigger urban area, but I find in Syracuse that I constantly have to explain or clarify my relationship to my kids.  It's just not very common, apparently, for a mom to have a different name.  And I have to admit, it's making me increasingly uncomfortable.  I suppose I thought I was maintaining my identity, especially with regard to my professional life, but since my professional life hasn't had that much life in it, it now seems, well, unnecessary.

There were quite a few comments at HuffPost to this story - I think mine was about #250.  So it's clearly still an issue that troubles people.  Many comments that I read basically said, do whatever works for you.  And, of course, I agree with that.  But there were also comments about building a new family instead of maintaining your connection to your original family, and those are the ones that most resonate with me at this point in time.

Not that I would bother to change my name now, but my feelings about my reasons for not doing so are definitely evolving.  I suppose it's also a factor that my father's death is 2 decades past now, whereas when I got married, his passing was rather fresh, and maintaining that connection felt rather urgent.

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