I have decided to take the plunge and change my name. It's a time for new things. New baby. Then new job. Now new name. And it is....
*Due to internet searchability, I'd rather not actually spell out my full name.
Ta da! So don't worry fans, I am still HMV...well, HMVV technically. So, let's run through the burning questions in your minds:
Why change your name now?!
It was a good time to change. I didn't want to change my name when I got married. No issue with Jake's name, I just umm...wasn't really raised that way? It was never part of my plan? If you know my mother, this will come as NO surprise to you. Mom didn't change her name after getting married (either time, actually), and I just figured I wouldn't change either. People knew me in law school by HMV, I like my name, and I'm a crazy feminist (kidding). (Sorta.) Interestingly though, my mom DID change her name when lil baby Hannah was born. That's when M-V started and we all three changed over: dad, mom and lil H. Now that Olivia is in my life, I realized that I want to have the same name as her, and I want a family name.
Did Jake change his name too?
No. He is still JV. No VV for him. And yes, that's fine with me. Jake is his own man. I've always appreciated Jake's total acceptance of whatever last name choice I wanted to make. And I accept the same with regard to his choice. It's kind of unbelievable, but Jake genuinely has NO preference either which way on my name (MV, VV, or just V). He's pretty rad like that.
So does this make you feel more like a family?
I don't know, not really. We are a family no matter what our names are. But I like not having three different-but-similar names. Different names are different no matter what. It is just a symbolic thing, really, in the end. (Names.)
What about lineage?
Here's the thing about lineage: names can be written down. And if names can be written down, then they can be traced. And if they were never written down, then they can't be traced. And that's kind of a bummer, but not a ruin-your-entire-weekend kind of bummer. Does anyone realllllly care about lineage now besides Henry Louis Gates, Jr.? (No. Sorry HLG!)
Well hold on, you didn't rEEEally change your name.
First off, that's not a question. But secondly, yes I sure did. Ask the Social Security office, the DMV, the court, my bank, my employer, or any of my 137 student loan holders! Changing your name, even if it is just an alteration on a name, is a royal pain in the ass.
But I did keep the hyphen-- I am a second generation hyphen now! (That term is now trademarked.) And I did keep all the major parts of my old name. I lost my old middle name (Virginia), but it lives on in my heart. When people ask me about it, I still say Virginia because it is a family name that honors my grandmothers (they both have it too).
What will Olivia do when she gets married?
Well of course I don't know that. But what would I like her to do? Whatever she wants to do. After some careful thought, I hope.
That is all I ever hope, for anyone, male or female, is that they really think about their decision. Don't just change names for tradition or because you happen to be the girl in the relationship. Really think about what your options are. Think about whether you actually want to give up that name recognition you've built up in your professional life. And think about what you'd like for your family. There are endless options now days. Some ideas I've heard of:
- Husband stays the same, Wife makes Husband's last name her middle name
- W stays the same professionally, but legally changes to H's name for personal and family stuff
- H & W both change to another family name (in this case, H didn't have ties to his father, and W liked the new name better too)
- H and W keep their names, and give the children a hyphen name (like Jones-Rock) or even cooler, a combo name (like Jonock, or RoJo)
- H and W keep their names, first kid gets H's name, second kid gets W's name, and so on
- W changes to H's name, but gives her children her old last name as a first or middle name (like Jonas Rock)
I have always been a proud hyphenated-name-having child. I now think it makes more sense to include a married name in my hyphen name. It is the right combination of a family name (we all have Jake's last name somewhere) and an individual name (my original last name, well, a part of it..that's the last "V"). And I hope that with M. as a middle initial, I will remain pretty recognizable to anyone who knew me only as M-V. I hope Olivia will also be proud of the name we chose for her. She has two parents that are both strong individuals. And together we make a pretty sweet little family.