Anyone who knows me will know that I have really struggled with the idea of changing my name now I am a Mrs. I have gone into my settings on Facebook and typed in my new surname at least five times, but every time I go to click Save, I get a wobble in my tummy and I just can’t do it. It’s absolutely mad and I can’t explain how frustrated it is making me feel. What should I do? How can I make my mind up? I’ve spoken to a few people about what they think to try and help me make a decision. Here’s what they said and what I have decided to do!
My Mum was one of the first people I asked – did she ever question the expectation that she would change her name to my Dad’s after they got married? Well, she said that it was a different time and nobody questioned it back then, it was just the done thing. But one thing she did say to me, that I keep turning back to, is that she will always be a Sunderland, even if that is not her legal name.
Of course I had to speak to Andrew about how I was feeling. He, being the incredible fella he is, said that he totally understood. He would like me to be a Mason, of course, but he also said that he would be happy to double barrel our names too because he feels as much part of my family as I am his.
What they said was kind of shocking to little old self-obsessed me, but exactly what I needed to hear: does anyone care? The answer is probably no. I am definitely the only person who really cares about what my name is. It’s important to me. I feel like I will lose my sense of self if I change my name. But what my friends were saying is that I won’t change in anyone else’s eyes. And that is kind of comforting.
So what should I do?
Through all of this to-ing and fro-ing I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no right answer. There is no SHOULD. There is just a WANT. What do I want to do? And the truth is, I want to have the same name as my husband. I want to have the same name as our future children. I want to feel like we are connected in a tight family unit.
Yes it kind of sucks that it’s his surname, not my surname that we will be taking on. But does that mean I’m letting down women all over the world by giving into patriarchal norms? No, that burden does not sit on my shoulders. I am no less interested in female equality because I have a different surname.
We could double barrel, but to be honest when you put our names together, you end up with a cumbersome, pretentious sounding name. And then what happens when our kids get married? Do they triple barrel?! And don’t even get me started on having to fill in forms with a name that long. It’s bad enough as it is!
If I sit here and really ask myself, will I change if I change my name, then the answer is no. I will still be me. If anything, it gives me the chance to approach 30 as a new woman, creating my future however I want to. And that thought is liberating, not restrictive.
So I’m off to Facebook to change my name with a spring in my step and an eye to what I want to achieve in the future. And in the back of my mind are my Mum’s words. I will always be a Westmoreland.
Have you gone through this? How do you feel about changing your name when you get married? What did you decide?