Of Names and the New Year

It's ComplicatedI’m not making any resolutions this year. Because I don’t know enough about my future to know what goals to set. I know so little about the details from here that I can’t fathom trying to impose that kind of order on them. 

Here’s one example.

I’ve been thinking about names a lot. About mine, specifically, and what I’m going to do about it. 

Raised in a conservative, religious household, waiting to get married and have children, I always planned to take my husband’s name. I gave it little thought until I got older and started my career while still single. In the end, though, I opted to change my name for two reasons: to make my husband and I into a recognizable family to everyone, and to eventually identify myself as my children’s mother.

Now, though, half of those reasons are gone. Keeping the name for my kids sounds like a nice sentiment, but it’s not one that tugs at my heartstrings. I feel more connected to my maiden name, it doesn’t have the same baggage as my married one.

But then I start looking to the future. If I go back to my maiden name, jump through all the hoops it will take to change it, re-brand myself to all the people who’ve met me in the last 6 years, then that’s great but what if I get married again? Would I stick with my maiden name, only to be in a household with three last names: mine, my spouse’s and my kids’? 

Do I have the guts to change my name again if I did get married? Do I want to have a different name than my kids at all? But wouldn’t it be better than keeping my ex’s name when I’m with someone new? 

I have no answers to these questions. I don’t know what the future brings. I’ve never had so little control over my life and I still don’t know what to do with it and how to manage it. 

When I do have the power to make a choice, there’s no easy answer. 

I may not have resolutions, but I do have hope. I hope that in 2014 things get easier. I hope they get more stable. I hope I can get my footing financially and logistically. I hope for less big questions with complicated answers. I hope I can read more books and see more movies. I hope that Listen to Your Mother Boston is a fantastic success. I hope I get to write enough. I hope I can get the money to go to more conferences and visit more friends. And I hope you’ll all be here with me.


  1. says

    Yours were the first posts I went to read in my over-crowded reader, now that I’m home. And I’m not going anywhere, whatever your name is. Happy 2014. Here’s to hope.
    Cheryl recently posted..Six

  2. says

    I was actually wondering also what you might do with your name 🙂 it’s such a hard choice. My mom changed her name the first time she got married and when she divorced she changed it back. When she married my dad she kept her maiden name and took his. My brother always had a different name and sometimes it was weird, like when the school,called and would ask for Mrs. O’Connor. It didn’t matter to the family unit at all. No one felt left out. I also think it’s weird that my mother in law kept her married name even though she had a terrible divorce and wasn’t even married that long. Names are hard choices.

  3. says

    My 2 cents (for what its worth), your kids won’t live with you forever. When they’re grown and gone do you want to still have your ex’s last name? My best friend kept her ex husband’s last name “for the sake of the kids.” Then the kids all graduated and left home. She went to the extra expense at that time to get it changed.

    Also…in this day and age…does it really matter if your last name does not match your kids? Does it make you less their mom? If you feel more connected to your maiden name, it seems that it would be worth it to take it back.

    I took my first husband’s last name. When I got divorced I took my maiden name back. When I got remarried I took my new husband’s last name. That’s what was right for me. I’m confident that you will do what’s right for you.
    Cristy recently posted..Best Laid Plans

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