I am…my name?


What’s in a name anyway if not for one’s whole identify? I’m 32 and have been building an identity my whole life. Why would I get rid of the name that is associated with that identity? So I’m married now and feel no different as my own person and I like it that way, but what to do……..with my name?

Recently, Zach and I were combining our checking account at Wells Fargo and the  representative said, “I think it’s so sad you don’t want take his name” in which I replied, “It’s not that I don’t want to take his name, it’s that I don’t want to lose mine.” Doesn’t sharing a checking account sufficiently explain that I’m committed?! Goodness! It’s 2017. I’m surprised she thought it was weird, but somehow, it still really is.

However, since I’ve been talking to practically everyone about this, I have found that many people do things I never even thought of with their name. Some replace their middle name with their maiden name. (Also….maiden name? Why do we still call it that? Is this 1764?) Some even keep their original name and don’t change it at all. What do I do professionally? What do I do legally? and what do I do for myself? Honestly, the only reason I see to change my name is for the kids.

If I were not planning on kids, I really believe that I wouldn’t change my name at all. But, as a family, I want it to be easy for the world to see that we are a unit. Working as a counselor, there are many families who have many different last names and sometimes I question if the person I’m calling is their biological mom or if it is a foster parent or guardian. I basically refer to all of them as guardian because I wouldn’t know for sure otherwise and don’t want to offend anyone by making assumptions. I do want it to be easy for everyone to see my kids as part of Zach and I because I think it immediately gives off a vibe of support, stability and security.

I’ve spent some time and effort writing out my name in all the various ways:

Kelly Nicole Carlile

Kelly Nicole Carlile-Pleger

Kelly Nicole Carlile Pleger

Kelly Carlile Pleger

Kelly Carlile-Pleger

I’ve written all of these and more, mostly in cursive, but then I started printing it because I don’t like my handwriting to begin with.

Surprisingly, my mom and Zach’s mom didn’t even seem to mind which is why I’ve spent so much time contemplating what to do. I kind of thought both families just expected me to take the name and move on with my life but now that they’ve given me the opportunity, I’m going to run with it. 🙂

I mean, can I put a dot instead of a hyphen? I do that when I write the date and it just looks so much cuter to me. Also, if I hyphenate, I’d also like to put a hyphen in between my first and last name to balance it out. This is one of my perfectionist tendencies but I also highly believe in balance.


Sigh. That’s so much better, but somehow, not an option.

I mean to be honest,  any option that I write, doesn’t feel…..well….right.

I think the hyphen is the best option for the compromise I’m trying to reach. The compromise where I keep my last name and add a name that will connect me to my hypothetical kids. If I don’t hyphenate, then people will drop my name because they might think it’s a middle name.

Either way, people are very presumptuous and will still call me Kelly Pleger and I’ll just have to get over it. And I’ll also have to get over that together we will be the Pleger’s. Just, nothing makes sense to me. Nothing sounds right. But maybe that’s because I only see myself as Kelly Carlile. I really kind of question how easily most ladies change their name to their husband’s. Is this done without thought or is their desire so strong to change their name to their husbands that it’s akin to being a seal of becoming one unit?

No judgement here, just curious. Now….what…..to……do?

Maybe the name of something or someone doesn’t affect what or who they are. After all, Shakespeare did express that “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” Anyone?  Thoughts?

Yours truly,

Kelly Nicole Carlile Pleger??









1 Comment

  1. Kelly, I love this! Lately, this idea has been on my mind and I am single as a pringle. I guess it’s all the ladies who surround me in life who are causing me to contemplate. There is so much stigma surrounding the choice and I wish there wasn’t.

    On another note, you could ask your husband to take your name!

    So many options – and quite a humerus, fascinating, and relatable read. You go girl.

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