Michelle Obama has made it abundantly clear that her first priority as First Lady is being “Mom-in-Chief.” Mrs. Obama is committed to bringing balance to her children’s lives in the spotlight and raising them to be kind, intelligent and grounded women. It’s a task that she dedicates more time to than their father, who must focus his energies toward being President of the United States. That truth led her to accidentally refer to herself as a “single mother” in an interview in April.
She recently clarified that comment in an interview with Parade Magazine. An excerpt:
On whether her recent description of herself as “a single mother” was an acknowledgement of the pressure that comes with always making the decisions about her kids.
That’s absolutely right. When you have a husband or a partner who’s either traveling for work or has huge responsibility … and I give my husband credit—he knows who their friends are, he knows what their schedule is. But he’s not making the calls to the dance studio to figure out what classes they’re taking next year … I think it’s important for both parents to shoulder that [responsibility]. I tell my kids, “I am thinking about you every other minute of my day.”
I think her comment is fair and understandable given the demands of her husband’s job. She also spoke on her bangs, the possibility of a woman President and turning 50:
On why she got rid of her bangs:
You know, it’s hard to make speeches with hair in your face!
On why she chose a leadership role on the issue of childhood obesity in America.
When we started, there were people who were thinking, ‘Oh, that’s not an issue. Why is she picking that?’ But in a short amount of time we have turned a challenging problem into one where there are glimmers of hope and change. Our goal is to see the numbers reduced in a generation.
On thinking about where Malia will go to college.
You know, I am really trying to tone that way down. Because kids are under unreasonable pressure, and it can destroy a high school experience.
On the rules she has set for the Obama daughters as they grow older.
I give them as long a leash as they can handle. What I tell my kids is, I’m preparing you for college and for life. So, having independence, knowing how to set your own boundaries, figuring out how to make that balance. We still have screen time rules.
On the approach of the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech.
I have immense hope. We just finished our visit to Africa and spent time on Robben Island with one of President Mandela’s cell-block mates. Mandela took a lot of the lessons from Dr. King’s time to heart … To come back to the United States, with an African-American president who has been influenced by both King and Mandela, that is a reason to be hopeful about all that Dr. King sacrificed.
On whether she thinks having an African-American family in the White House has moved the needle.
Absolutely. Children born in the last eight years will only know an African-American man being president of the United States. That changes the bar for all of our children, regardless of their race, their sexual orientation, their gender. It expands the scope of opportunity in their minds. And that’s where change happens.
On whether there will be a female president in her lifetime.
Yes, I think the country is ready for it. It’s just a question of who’s the best person out there.
On whether she sees Secretary Clinton getting the job.
She hasn’t announced anything, so I’m certainly not going to get ahead of her. [laughs]
On her thoughts about turning 50 in January.
I have never felt more confident in myself, more clear on who I am as a woman. But I am constantly thinking about my own health and making sure that I’m eating right and getting exercise and watching the aches and pains. I want to be this really fly 80-, 90-year old.