Thursday, August 2, 2012

Today I changed my name

These two. I have a feeling that I'll be spending a lot of time trying to get a photo of both of my girls looking at near the camera at the same time. Is this the way of multiple children? Most of our day resembles herding cats (and sometimes we are actually herding cats) so I shouldn't expect this to be any different. On this day, yesterday that is, we were about to enter the Royal Ontario Museum (one of my new favourite places in Toronto) and they were far too excited to see dinosaur bones to sit for a photo. I should also mention that I was only trying to get a shot of the two them because the grandparents were inquiring about when they might receive such a photo. We all have dreams.

Today I changed my name (but only once). I married my husband more than five years ago but didn't assume his last name until today. When I wrote about why I regretted changing my name last month I never imagined that I would actually change it now. But the response to my post was a wake-up call, helping me to realize that it wasn't too late to make changes no matter what decision I made at the time of getting married. As I wrote in the original post, I was feeling a little left out of the party not sharing a name with the rest of my family. Something I never dreamed would matter now does matter, and so it was time for a change.  This isn't the best choice for a lot of people, but it is the best choice for me. Now if you'll excuse me I'm off to find the best colour for our matching family jerseys.

Farewell, silent letter b. It was a good thirty-four years.


  1. As the parent of 3 now teen/adult kiddos, I can tell you that you will spend the rest of your life trying to get a picture with everyone looking at the camera at the same time. And if they are, someone is likely doing something to someone else and at least won't be smiling. :)

    I read about your name change with interest. 20 years ago I changed my name so that I would have the same name as my children. My son is named my "maiden" name (I don't like that term, but you know what I mean!). I've recently considered incorporating my old name with my married name, at least professionally. I'm on the fence. I LOVE that women are free to choose!

    And the ROM is a fantastic place.

    1. I had a feeling it was a losing battle. I'm ok with that. A good battle to have.

      Yes, I am on the fence too, and never dreamed I would want to make the change. When I married without changing my name I felt as though I was clearly making a statement (including to my future daughters) that no one had to change a name to be a part of a family. I still feel that way generally, but specifically, it just wasn't working for me and that's ok. Feminists have all kinds of names.

    2. I forgot to add that my first name is my mom's maiden name. But that's not the name I use, I've always used my middle name. You know, just to add to the confusion :)

  2. I'm interested in reading the post you referred to. I really struggled with changing my name, as I was in my 30s when we got married, and although I'm still closely tied to my family of origin, I like when my kids say, "We're all Pinkertons!" It IS like being part of an amazing team of your creation. I know there are lots of feminist arguments against it...but really, our "maiden" names came from our fathers so there you's just the way our culture does it. If anyone is interested in my deeper origins, we just talk about it (I'm a..., my mother is a...(insert maiden names))...
    Congratulations on this big exciting step!
    Oh, yeah...just surrender. After seven years I'm still trying to get a picture of my three kids that isn't a total gong show. We'll laugh about it someday!

  3. Thanks, Pinkerton. (By the way, my stepfather is a Pinkerton, too. So is my mum now.)

    It is exciting, though conflicted. Mostly just exciting!

  4. I always find myself surprised when women change their names. I would think that the pain-in-the-ass of going through the paperwork of the name change itself (for every piece of ID, bank account, email address, etc etc etc etc), and forever having to explain to people "yes, I am *that* Stacey, that was my maiden name" would be pretty annoying too.

    Anyways, it's reassuring to me somehow to know you're conflicted about it Danielle! :) We are *all* walking contradictions, and being a feminist doesn't mean you have to be "pure". But at the same time, the fact that we "choose" something doesn't make it feminist. Sometimes feminists are going to capitulate to the patriarchy because it makes their lives easier in some way -- our culture makes it a struggle to resist the patriarchy and rewards us richly for conformity. And so we all choose to capitulate in one way or another -- I shave my legs because I don't want to feel self-conscious and have people staring at me. It doesn't make me less of a feminist.

    Each of us has to figure out how to best navigate our lives in a sexist culture, and sometimes we're going to resist and other times we're going to capitulate. We definitely don't need to be beating ourselves up over it, but at the same time let's not kid ourselves: shaving our legs (or changing our names) *is* a capitulation to the patriarchy. That's cool. We don't have to fight everything all the time.

    If you'll excuse me now, I'm going to go upstairs and re-do the nail polish on my toes.


  5. “Today I changed my name (but only once)”--- This idea made me smile. ;) Well, what took you so long to change your name? “I was feeling a little left out of the party not sharing a name with the rest of my family.”---- It’s probably one of the great moments that you missed for the past five years. Nevertheless, you wouldn’t feel left out now. You can enjoy it for the coming years! :D

    1. And I am enjoying so far. I'm still getting around to making some changes (like at the bank, the hardest one it seems to change around here).