I DO … take your name. Or do I?
Here’s a story.
Of a lovely lady.
Who took her first husband’s name. And has two kids with that same name.
Then went back to her maiden name after the separation.
And then stuck on a hyphen a month before her third child was born to her current husband.
And if you actually caught a peep of her driver’s licence, you’d wonder who the heck she actually was because even her first name is not something anybody but her doctor’s receptionist (thank-you Medicare) has called her since 1985.
This name-full lady can ring up a restaurant and book under a name that is legally hers but one that very few would actually connect with the person making the booking. Which would be fun if she were a restaurant critic but she’s not. She just likes good food. And eating out at nice restaurants.
Which is a tad of an issue because the lady with the self-inflicted identity crisis is me.
Part of me wants to give myself a good hard talking to. Part of me just laughs.
When all five of us book into a hotel or resort, there are three different surnames between us. Don’t even get me started about Census night. Except thank golly goodness it’s not an annual event.
When I ring up either of the schools which the kids attend, I have to explain who I am in the context of my sons’ or daughter’s name. Not mine.
At the DVD store, when I forget my card, which is ALWAYS because one of the kids has it, I have to remember I’m Nicole* because I think the phone bill I had to show them when we joined (so they could easily track us down for copious late fees racked up by said kids), has my official name on it.
When it comes to anything work-related, I’m just Nikki Parkinson.
Forget about Arthur or Martha (WHO are they anyway?), somedays I wonder WHO I am.
And what I should answer to today? Which is ok, isn’t it?
Because my husband calls me babe (umm … most of the time), the kids call me mum, my dad calls me Niks. If someone shouts in my general direction, I’ll probably pop my head up and answer.
Which in a long kind of way gets me to somewhat of a point with this post.
Do people still take their partner’s names when they get married? Have we gone a bit of a full circle where we rebelled against this a teensy bit and now are swinging back to having the whole family under one name and one house. But what about the families, like mine, who aren’t all under one house all the time? Are people more down with that and take any inherent confusion on the head?
I’m not sure. But I’d love to know what you think.
What I am pretty damn sure about is that changing your name should not be a caught-in-the-romance-and-white-dress decision.
It is YOUR decision but it’s one that seems to me that can be easily influenced by all the parties who think they have a stake or vested interest in your identity.
First time round, I had my now-late mother in one corner telling my I SHOULDN’T change my name. Well, that was enough for the naive 25-year-old me to do just what she didn’t want me to do, wasn’t it?
And then with the subsequent divorce, it didn’t seem like a good “fit” to keep the name that associated me with a marriage I was no longer apart of.
So back to my maiden name it was, until the rush of hormones a month before giving birth to my current husband and my child, saw me tack a hyphen on when renewing my drivers’ licence.
I think it was some kind of need to be all linky linky, to bind our new little blended family some way. Somehow.
I’m just not sure now whether it was a good move. I mean, it’s a bugger of a signature. And doesn’t even fit on a credit card.
What WAS I thinking?
Tell me your name story? Do you still have your name from birth? Have you been a chopper and changer like me? Do you think the new generation of newly weds are more keen to take on their partner’s names than the generation before?
* When I left my home town at 17 to go to uni in the big smoke, I decided to create a new name because, wait for it, I liked the way it looked when it was written down. In the spelling I made up! I also didn’t like the way Aussie accents killed the French in Nicole. So from that first day of O-week, I introduced myself as Nikki. That’s something that’s stuck. And something I haven’t changed since!Main photo: credit