A question that may make one pause when discussing a blended family after divorce is, “How many kids do you have?” This is one of the most common questions that I am asked and it’s consistently problematic for me. Sometimes I keep it vague and simply say that my husband and I have three kids together. However, people typically expand upon this by asking their ages, and the 10 year age gap between my eldest and middle child generally raises eyebrows until I explain that the eldest is my stepdaughter, my husband’s daughter from his first marriage. The interviewer generally responds awkwardly to all this and, for whatever reason, I feel like I deceived them somewhere along the way.
To avoid this routine, I usually tell the asker that I have a 9-year-old and a 6-year-old and a 19-year-old stepdaughter, but it pains me to differentiate among my kids that way. You see, my stepdaughter Amanda has been in my life since she was three-years-old and I truly consider her as much my child as her siblings. Yet, and this is the conflicting part, she’s not 100% mine and I respect her mother too much to claim her as my own.