Today (March 8th) marks the 6th month anniversary of my wedding day. It was a truly magical day spent celebrating with family and friends with a massive rain storm that held off until everyone was safely under the tent for the reception. I should mention that there was so much rain that at one point there was a possibility that the tent might collapse on us – but that’s a story for another day.
Now that the
Who knew this experience would be fraught with psychological conflicts? I always thought I would keep my last name – so did nearly everyone in my family, but once Mike (my husband) proposed, the choice didn’t seem so obvious.
Seriously, this was a tougher choice than I thought it was going to be. Do I carry on the family name because my dad was an only child? Will my professional accomplishments be lost forever if I change my name? Am I setting the feminist movement back by a million years? How will my friends from the first grade who I haven’t spoken to since we graduated from elementary school ever find me on facebook? First world problems, I know.
Then there was this discussion with Mike:
Me: Can’t we just combine our names into a super name like Barks?
Him: Do you really want to be Janelle Barks?
Me: It has a nice ring,
Him: Um, no.
Clearly, comprise is not in his wheelhouse.
All joking aside, it was difficult to wrap my head around the idea of changing my name. I’ve spent the last 30+ years of my life answering to Janelle Rooks. I shared a common nickname, Rooksie, that was given to me by some of closest friends who didn’t know that it was also the same nickname given to my dad by his closest friends. At apple seeds, I’m often called JR. If I change my name, do I now become Barthie (I sure hope not!) and JB (okay, not so bad)?
I know there are other options like hyphenating but I just don’t have the patience to constantly write two last names (again, first world problems). Also, what if one of our future children married someone with a hyphenated last name would they then become Rooks-Barth-lastname-lastname? There is also the option of keeping it as my middle name, but I like my middle name and the story behind it (again, a story for another day).
After having a more serious conversation with my husband, I decided that I wanted to change my name. To me, it was a way to establish us as a new family unit. Sharing the same last name unites us in a traditional way, even though we are two not-so-traditional people. My husband also really wanted me to consider it and the reasons we came up with together out-weighted the reasons that I wanted to keep my name. In the end, I personally feel that my name identifies me, but the things I do every day, my friends and my family are what make me who I am. I’m not changing my persona only my moniker. And with that, I “officially” present to the world Janelle Barth.
Now comes the mountains of forms to fill out, corrections to make, and new signature to learn how to write. Is there still time for me to reconsider? Just kidding.
Did you change your name? Why or why not? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.