My husband would have preferred that I change my name when we got hitched, but it wasn’t a deal breaker. I wasn’t militant about it…I’m not a card carrying feminist. I was already an established professional, but career concerns didn’t enter the equation. There was one and only one true reason I didn’t change my name: my parents were Holocaust survivors and coming from a family of all girls, there would be no more Freemans if I gave up my name.
Here’s why I wouldn’t make that “mistake” again. KIDS! For ten years after marriage, before the offspring sprang onto the planet, the name thing was never an issue. Kids brought it to the forefront. We settled on hyphenation, which I now consider to be a form of child abuse. Try to fill out that sixteen letter hyphenated monstrosity on school applications, medical forms etc. Flash forward, when my kid marries a kid whose parents were as “forward thinking” as we were and now my kid’s kids last name will be confused with a law firm.
In my next incarnation, I’m going old school: “one for all and all for one.”
During the last election it hit me just how ingrained one’s roots are. I stood in the wrong line to pick up a voting ballot thinking for a moment it was registered under Eisenberg versus Janson, my married name of 20 years.
Changing your name is voluntary, it’s a logistical nightmare, and it is a bit weird. As a retread (married twice), I have had 3 last names in my adult life…sometimes using 2 at the same time. The real reason I took my present and beloved husband’s name, is because we planned on having kids. Looking towards the future, I wanted both the plumber and principle to quickly identify that we were all from the same tribe.
I really mixed things up when Joe and I betrothed, replacing Lisa, my former middle name with Eisenberg, my maiden name. Like Jennie, I wanted to pay homage to my father George, and reclaim my identity. Now I go by Julie Eisenberg Janson with no hyphens.
Joe knows I love him often, and frequently love him always. A name is just a label. Given another chance, I never would have messed with my birth certificate. Instead I would opt for consistency and hold on to my maiden name.