Two months before my wedding day I found myself lying on my living room couch hysterically crying. Let’s be clear – I am not much of a crier. I had been planning my wedding for 10 months but all of the sudden a realization hit me like a ton of bricks. I wasn’t going to be a Nelson anymore. I have two older sisters, both of whom are unmarried. My eldest sister has a son whose last name is also Nelson. I’m not sure what it was about this particular day that made my heart ache to know that I would now be a Hobbs. A married woman. I’m the little sister and I felt like I was leaving my big sisters behind. As I cried, my then fiancé rubbed my back and said “Babe, you’re supposed to grow up and get married. Everyone does at some point.” That statement may be true in some cases but weddings and marriage were new in my immediate family.
My parents were married for 25 years and when they divorced my mother immediately went back to her maiden name. “It’s not mine and I don’t need it anymore,” I remember my mother confidently saying. It took me a long time to stop referring to her with the last name Nelson. I once even booked a plane ticket for her and forgot to use her maiden name. When we filled out our marriage license, I went back and forth about what I wanted to do with my name. I wanted to keep a piece of myself in my name. Knowing that we planned to have children, I decided to legally become Tiffanny Nelson Hobbs. However, I didn’t go through the process of changing any of my identifications or account information. Whenever someone asked why I wasn’t using my married name my answer was simply “It’s too much work to change everything”. That was one reason but I was also afraid of losing my personal identity. I was known in the professional and entertainment world as Tiffanny Nelson. No one would who Tiffanny Hobbs was. My new husband didn’t mind that I used my maiden name because legally I was a Hobbs.
I went on as Tiffanny Nelson for over a year and a half after getting married. The game changer was getting pregnant with our first child. When we would go to doctors visits the staff would often call my husband “Mr. Nelson”. This has also happened at hotels or restaurants were we have used my credit card to pay. I felt it was time to be a cohesive family with one last name. I wanted that for myself and for my child. I went through the inconvenient and time consuming process of changing all of my identifications, licenses, and accounts to my married name. I was able to change everything before our baby boy was born and felt good about the fact that the hospital staff called us all by the name Hobbs.
There are some people that I come across that seem confused by my name. “But is your last name Nelson or Hobbs,” they will ask. “It’s both but you can put down Hobbs if its easier,” I will reply. If they can say Kim Kardashian West, I’m not sure why they have a problem saying Tiffanny Nelson Hobbs. One of my sisters still utilizes my maiden name when making appointments or reservations for me. I gently remind her that while that’s fine she can put also put Hobbs down to match my drivers license. I love my dual name because it allows me to be me, past, and present.