March 18, 2008

Who are you?

When I saw that train, I knew I absolutely had to purchase it for Arun.

You see, it is my maiden name.

Last year when I was pregnant and filling out some paperwork, I realized that I was okay with my married name. Not only that I was okay with it, but rather that I actually felt it was mine. I am K.G. (aka Cagey) now. That is me.

Then, last fall, for some inexplicble reason, I began using my full name - K.O.G. I am not sure why I did it - it was not a conscious decision, I just started using it. So now, when I am referring to myself when it is not in direct context to the kids, I use my full name.

When X and I were married, he was clear that he did not care which decision I made regarding a name change. To boot - his last name is actually his father's first name - many Catholics in India follow that tradition instead of a "family name". In addition, many, many Indian gals do not take their husband's names (changing visas and passports is a major heartache, so often, they do not mess with risking their visa status). So...... no biggie - I could keep my name, right?

Except that my parents are divorced and I hated it when my mom's last name was not the same as mine. Hated it. I really wanted my last name to be the same as my kids so the decision was a no-brainer for me. So, I changed my name sadly, but quite willingly for myself. End of story.

I do still miss my maiden name. And when I see a silly kid's toy emblazoned with it, it makes my heart go pitter-patter.


Monkey McWearingChaps said...

Heh, my policy on this has always been

a) Definitely changing it if it's fewer syllables than mine,

b) Or I just like it.

c) Raising a quizzical eyebrow if it's harder to pronounce,

d) But if it's important to him, no big deal. I'm not that tied to it.

My brother-in-law wanted my sister to legally change it before she opted for psychiatry. Now he wantsn a clear delineation between the name she uses at work and what their home numbers/addy correspond to, so she isn't as traceable outside the hospital. I don't blame him.

Anonymous said...

Here's what my plan is (assuming future husband doesn't put up some giant fuss and I cave):

-- Keep my maiden name as my legal name.

-- Use my maiden/legal name as my professional name.

-- Let people call me by whichever last name they choose socially. I don't think I'd mind being addressed as "Mr. and Mrs. So-and-so" if it's easier for people.

I haven't given as much thought as far as what last name I'd give my kids. I'm against a hyphened last name, but I'd considered giving my last name as the only middle or a second middle name.

Moderndayhermit said...

I always hated my maiden name - Bailey. Especially since three people here at the office have DOGS by that name. Bleh. Not to mention how friggin' common it is. Do a google search for "Jennifer Bailey". Yes internet, good luck looking through those 117,000 results.

(Not that I want to be found easily by internet, it was used to illustrate the commonality of such a dull and dreary name.)

Top that off with my husband's sister being a Jennifer. Two Jennifer K's? Screw that. Honestly, it makes me puke a little in my mouth for some reason.

So, ex-husband's name it is. On my emails and such I hyphenate it but legally I'm still Jenn D. Which, has a much better ring to it when said like one word, "Jenn-Dee".

I actually polled a lot of my friends and they all agree that "D" is much cooler than "K".

I do wonder if Alex will feel weird later about my name not being the same.

Now, I am fond of my Mother's maiden name. But...oh well.

Christy said...

Everyone ALWAYS mispronounced my maiden name, so I was kind of glad to get rid of it.

Anonymous said...

Having a different last name from my kids didn't affect my decision. My name was always different from my mother's and it never bothered me so I had always thought I would keep my maiden name. I especially didn't want to change it to something like Clutter or Unfug (these are real names I encountered while dating, hope I don't offend anyone here).

But then I met my husband and he has a really cool name. Very lyrical sounding, and wonderful meaning. I did a little soul searching and decided I didn't really love my maiden name. It wasn't all that unique and I have no relationship with my father so bleh. I am VERY happy I changed it because I love the name and it was my choice.

Diana said...

I was going to keep my maiden name but found that a very generous check made out to "Mr AND Mrs Piffle" as a wedding gift changed things. Apparently, I can be bought.

I do think our last name is cooler than my maiden name, which helped.

MLE said...

Well, you know our plan (Stryker!)

I have an Indian friend who is married and has a baby. She has her maiden name, her husband has his last name, and the baby has a completely different last name that they made up which incorporates part of the father's first name. She has not yet changed her name because of the visa issue, and when her husband's citizenship goes through they will both change their last names to the one the baby has. I think it's pretty cool!

Clare Norcio said...

I didn't change my name, and I don't use my husband's last name, even socially. Even though we've been married 10 yrs and have 2 kids (my name as a middle name, dad's last name), I am confused when someone addresses me with his name, and I don't answer. Perhaps it's my field--academics in my generation tend not to change their names.

My husband wanted us to have the same last name, but wasn't willing to change his name, or add mine to his (so we'd both be Myname Hisname). It's not that confusing. My older son knows my last name, and his last name, and as far as he's concerned it's normal.

Anonymous said...

As you know, I didn't change my name, largely because my husband doesn't use his real name; he uses a stage name but has never legally changed to it. It didn't make sense to change my name to the one he doesn't use or the one he can't legally use either.

FFF said...

If I was going to change my name when I got married, it would have been an easy choice. My husband's last name is an American word, easily pronouncable, easily spellable, and sounds good with my first name. But after years of having to explain how to say my last name, I was sort of fiercely proud of it. Plus it gave me the initials FFF. Plus my dad's initials are FF. So, I kept it.

What I struggled with is whether my son should have a hyphenated last name, or just my husband's last name. It was pretty important to my husband, so now my kid has his last for a last name, and my last name for a middle name.

Professionally, I'm FFF. Socially, it never matters to me what I'm called when people don't know, but I get annoyed when people KNOW my name and are being passive aggressive about not using it.

And it's always Ms. no matter which last name is used. Sometimes I do feel if we all had the same name things would be easier, but cest la vie.

CPA Mom said...

My maiden name is my middle name now. I kept it since my dad has no boys and wanted to honor him.

Now of course, we are completely estranged so I'm thinking of dropping it.