I can’t stop thinking about my name.
I’ve been Alice Harold for four years now but it has started to feel wrong that I still use the name of a man I am no longer married to. Changing it in the first place was kind of a big deal; my old surname, Judge-Talbot, was a really lovely one to grow up with (is that a weird thing to say?) and I was quite sad to lose it. The traditionalist in me wanted to take on my husband’s name though, and I know he was keen for me to become a Harold. But I think the fact I never got round to changing my name on my passport and driving license says a lot.
I’m left feeling like a bit of an imposter. Although my ex-husband and I have two beautiful children together we are no longer a family and shouldn’t my name reflect my newfound independence and life?
One small stumbling block is of course Elfie and Hux. They will always have their father’s surname, no matter what mine is, and this is where some people seem to feel uncomfortable (mum, I’m looking at you. Not in a bad way, but I am). There seems to be concern over how I/they will feel when they start school and we have different surnames. But for me this isn’t really an issue; for one, there are plenty of women who don’t change their name upon getting married these days. There are also lots of women in the same boat as me who may have reverted to their maiden names. And crucially it doesn’t make them any less my children, or means I love them any less, so why is it an issue? I think Hux’s eyes and Elfie’s bossiness will always make it clear they are mine and no-one elses.
Adding my double barrelled surname to Harold and forcing them to go through life triple barrelled is not something I want to do, but maybe I could gift them one of my surnames so both my ex-husband and I are represented? Talbot-Harold is a pretty nice surname if I do say so myself and as the primary parent I feel justified in really wanting a part of me to be represented in their name.
Another issue I’ve been pondering is my work persona. I’m Alice Harold in my professional life, it’s my email address, Instagram and Twitter handle, it’s what people know me as and it’d be a pain in the arse to email every single person I’ve dealt with in the last four years to say hey, I’m changing my name again, but no need to send congratulations this time OK? Admittedly I’ve purchased alicejt.com and still own my old firstname.lastname@example.org address but just can’t seem to make the commitment to go back to my name-roots.
What would you do?