“Behind every strong man, there is a strong woman.” That statement used to be common, now it seems as though there is no other person standing behind or in front, just a strong women. And when you think of strong women, you always have to include Michelle Obama.
The former First Lady is seen not only as a beacon of hope for many, but a perfect example of what being a strong Black woman is. And Mrs. Obama is raising strong Black women as well in her daughters. But if you talk to her, she’ll say everything she is, is a result of her own mom, Marian Robinson.
On her kids:
“Being a mother has been a masterclass in letting go,” Obama said. “Try as we might, there’s only so much we can control. And, boy, have I tried – especially at first. As mothers, we just don’t want anything or anyone to hurt our babies. But life has other plans.”
Allowing daughters Malia, 21, and Sasha, 18, to forge their own identities while growing up in the White House was a lesson she and former President Barack Obama learned during his two terms.
“As a younger woman, I spent too much time worrying that I wasn’t achieving enough, or I was straying too far from what I thought was the prescribed path,” she said. “What I hope my daughters will realize a little earlier is that there is no prescribed path, that it’s OK to swerve, and that the confidence they need to recognize that will come with time.”
“When Malia and Sasha were newborns, Barack and I could lose hours just watching them sleep. We loved to listen to the little sounds they’d make – especially the way they cooed when they were deep into dreaming … But there is something so magical about having a baby in the house. Time expands and contracts; each moment holds its own little eternity.”
On her mom:
“The mother that I am today is a direct result of Marian Robinson,” said the 56-year-old. “My mom is one of the smartest people with just plain old common sense. The thing she always said that I do remember is that, she told me and my brother, ‘I wasn’t raising children. I was raising adults.’”
Obama says her mom always treated she and Craig like the adults she wanted them to be, and she never belittled them in conversation because of their age.
“She always talked to us like we had sense,” she added. “She never used baby talk. She would ask you to…explain yourself. She would include you in big grown up conversations. There was never anything that she wouldn’t talk to us about.”
Robinson, who lived with the Obamas during their White House years, shares a close relationship with her daughter. Asked in an interview in November what about Obama made her proudest, Robinson answered, “When I grow up I would like to be like Michelle Obama.”