removed to the correct category...
(gender)queer vegetarian artist co-parenting DDs 14 & 11 with DP and TTC little peanut #3
unless the kids mind or its someone who is going to be more involved in your life I wouldn't bother explaining and if people say wow you're young I'd just shrug or say sure or whatever. you may be a stepparent technically but you're the father and they are your kids in heart. i'm sorry this has bothered you and believe me I understand. I'm a stepparent myself. It can be so aggravating when the bio parents just don't seem to care about these amazing kids. good luck to you and your family!
SAHM, military wife, momma to DSD 2004, 2007, DS 2008, DD 2011
This is probably better off in the blended families area. It sounds like you're really self contious. I get "What? You're too young!" when I explain that my actual biological children are my children and not my younger siblings...all. the. time! Just smile, blush, and say "thanks" or "ah, I'm not as young as I look" or "well, I was a little on the young side when they were born" or something. The only reason anyone even knows you're a step parent is that you're telling them, you know? Dh is not the biodad of my kids, but he is absolutely their father. Ds looks SO much like him (plus dh is 6'7" and ds is giant too) that they can't go out together without people commenting on how much ds looks like his dad (meaning dh, not biodad). They both smile and giggle and say thanks. The first few times they did what it sounds like you still do...get akward because they're not biologically related...and tell strangers more than they have any business knowing.
As for names, the kids tell people dh is their dad, with no further explanation. And, they call both him and their biodad (who was something of a monster, but passed away years ago) by their first names...most of the time. Sometimes they call dh "Dad" or "Daddy" when they feel like it. We follow their lead. We refer to dh and biodad by first names when talking to the kids, but refer to dh as their father (with no further explanation unless we're filling out some legal form or something) to others. Dh calls them his kids and treats them just like they were his biokids or adopted or whatever.
DH & I have a 9 year old boy & a 7 year old girl, he's their step-dad. I've seen people make a comment that seems like they're trying to figure out the details. He usually just sort of lets it hang there for a second until the person starts to feel awkward and then completely changes the topic.
How does your partner feel about it? I think I'm actually more sensitive about it than DH. If he's not dad then what is he? The flavour of the week? And then what am I? And they seem to regard the kids with pity. It's insulting to all of us when someone discredits/devalues one of our roles in our family.
If it's just strangers/acquaintances with this attitude then try not to let it bother you too much. My family has seen the positive affect DH has had on the kids and how happy he's made me, and they hold him in the highest regard. The kids view him practically as a hero. Whose opinions are more important?
A nice dismissive/gives no information answer might be "Ahh, kids keep you young." Hopefully it won't be often that someone gets really nosy and pushes beyond that but if they do I think asking them why they want to know/why it's relevant would be appropriate.
~Teresa, raising DS (Jan. 02) and DD1 (Jun. 04) and DD2 (Dec. 11) with DH.