Many assume that I took my husband Craig’s last name when we married.
They think I just haven’t changed it from my maiden name on social media. That’s not the case.
I have been married before. At the time I did opt to take my then-husband’s name. Honestly, I hated changing my name from Day 1. I guess I felt that it was the “right thing to do,” because you know, society and all. That choice still haunts me. My nursing degree is in my old married name and I hate that. Being stuck changing it back to my maiden name on all my documentation when we divorced made me feel resentful. It was all so antithetical to my personal views of gender equality. Why is it only us women that are expected to tie our identities to the men in our lives? First to our fathers and then to our husbands.
So when Craig and I married, I made it clear that changing my name was off the table.
I wasn’t choosing this simply because I’d been married before and just didn’t feel like changing my name again, but because I don’t want to live by patriarchal standards anymore. I will go to my grave as Shannon Jean Keever.
It makes me cringe when people mistakenly refer to me as Mrs. Fisher, or refer to us as the Fisher Family, as opposed to the more accurate Keever-Fisher Family. However, I’ll admit that I giggle when people mistakenly refer to Craig as Mr. Keever.
My husband is a wonderful man. I do know that it pained him a little bit for me to make this choice, but at the same time he understands and supports my position.
It’s always a bit difficult going against the mores of society, even when one is choosing based on deeply held personal values.
He wanted to support me, but at the same time I know it put him in the position of having to explain to others that his wife made a decision that virtually none of his friends or family members’ wives chose. I can understand that can be awkward at times. There’s still an attitude in our society that says a man should “wear the pants” in the relationship.
We chose to give our children Craig’s last name, Fisher. I accepted this because we gave them my last name as their middle name: Xavier Keever Fisher and Hope Keever Fisher. We chose this compromise together. Personally, I just didn’t want their names to be hyphenated, so this made us both happy.
I don’t begrudge anyone else for choosing whatever works best for them.
Many women truly are thrilled to change their names when they marry, and to give their children the name of their father. More power to them. It’s so important to me that women, and especially my own children, understand that they do have a choice. I want them to feel comfortable with their choice.
I don’t want anyone to think I’d ever judge them for choosing something different than I did. There is absolutely something to be said for having a “clan” and a feeling of belonging, and also to having the same last name as your kids. I feel like there’s no perfect option and we all need to do what works best for us!