First we coveted First Lady Michelle Obama’s biceps, then it was her style — I’m still peeping her fashion savvy — and lately, everyone is going to the First Lady about parenthood. It’s only right; she seems to be raising two very well-adjusted, smart, interesting daughters in Malia, 12, and Sasha, 9. Madame Michelle is showing how much she’s for the children by launching her “Let’s Move” campaign to solve the epidemic of childhood obesity.
Though the first family has help and staff, they make sure to encourage self-sufficiency, independence and responsibility. It’s a breath of fresh air to have a role model who uses her resources to set limits and create a healthy environment.
Here are some of the best mommy tips we’ve found from Michelle Obama.
Being good at your job can make you a better parent: Obama uses the skills he learned on the job as a high-powered lawyer in her role as mom. Think: conflict resolution, communication, multitasking, time management, crisis management, and team building.
Discipline: Kids have an 8 p.m. bedtime, make their beds every morning and set their own alarms each night.
Be involved: Parents try to never miss a parent-teacher conference or dance recital.
Carve out couple time: Barack and Michelle maintain “date” nights to maintain sanity.
Never underestimate the power of Grandma: Madame Marian Robinson, Michelle’s mom, is credited with baby-sitting during the busy campaign and lives with the family to help with the girls.
Spend quality time: “We have dinner as a family together every night, and Barack, when he’s not travelling, tucks the girls in. We haven’t had that time together for [years], so that explains a lot why we all feel so good in this space… [But] I don’t want anybody to think it’s that easy. It works because we really work at it. … We have a strong marriage, but it’s not perfect.” (People Magazine, Feb 2009)
Read to your kids: Ann Walker Marchant, a family friend, said she watched Obama read to his children even when his voice was hoarse from campaigning.
No spoiling: The Obamas told Barbara Walters they wanted the kids to feel special to their parents, but not better than anyone else.
Teach them to help those less fortunate: The family volunteered at a Chicago food pantry the day before Thanksgiving.
Take care of yourself: Many mothers say making time for themselves (exercise, shopping trips, vacations) feels indulgent. When we respect ourselves, we model an important lesson for our children. “Hey, we’re the only ones who can take care of ourselves,” Obama told Ebony magazine, “and it makes us better lawyers, better mothers.”