The 2 Lives of Michelle Obama: From Stump Speeches to Doggie Playdates

Obama Family Portrait
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza
This past weekend, with fewer than 30 days until the election, to the huge defining day for her family and our country, Michelle Obama hosted a doggie playdate at the White House.

At the urging of younger daughter Sasha, they invited five friends, their parents, and their dogs over to give the Obamas' dog Bo some much-needed (according to Sasha, anyhow) dog interaction. The dogs tore up some flowers and there was some poop on the South Lawn, but the doggie date was deemed a success by all. The rest of the weekend was filled with discussions about an upcoming dance, a big science test, and homecoming. 

Michelle Obama Campaign Rally Virginia
Firing up the crowd in Leesburg
Contrast that to yesterday, when Michelle's afternoon was filled with campaign events including a stop in Leesburg, Virginia, for a rally where she gave a stump speech in front thousands and hosted a roundtable with reporters from women-focused websites like CafeMom. The juxtaposition between Michelle's “normal” family life and her carefully orchestrated public appearances is hard to fathom, but she says it's not that different from what any other working mom does -- she's just doing it in a bigger public spotlight. And when you talk to her, you get the feeling that her sentiment isn't spin -- she's really embracing both roles while trying to find balance between the two.

More from The Stir: Michelle Obama Gets Today's Moms Right, Ann Romney Gets Them SO Wrong (VIDEO)

Christopher Dilts/Obama for America
During our one-hour conversation with the First Lady, we hit on topics ranging from Barack's debate performance to what it's like for her daughters to grow up in the White House in the age of cellphone cameras and Facebook.

On Barack's debate performance, Michelle was understandably and predictably in her husband's corner:

I'm biased. I think my husband has done a phenomenal job, not just in the debates, but over the last three and half years.

When I asked what it's like to sit in the audience and watch her husband on stage, Michelle explained how hard it can be to keep the poker face expected of her when the cameras are pointed her way.

You can't gesture. You can't [yell] go, baby! Yes! You nailed that one! You can't do any of that.

And it's nerve-wracking watching her husband debate.

... it's watching your loved one perform on a tightrope. And yes, we have two more [debates].

She admitted it's sometimes hard to stay focused for the entire debate. She sometimes finds her mind wandering.

Debates, it's hard to hang in there for 90 minutes.

When asked if she'd support her daughters going into politics ...

I would support my daughters doing anything they want to do. So I always encourage them, think about your passion, think about your gifts. You don't think about what dad does or what somebody else wants you to do. And if it's politics, if it's serving in the military, if it's being a stay-at-home mom, I just want them to have confidence in whatever choice they make.

And she tells her daughters how fortunate they are to be growing up at a time when they can celebrate their intellect and be whomever they want to be. She says it was different when she was growing up ...

I tell them being smart in public school was dangerous. I mean, truly. You talk like a white girl, or who you are with grades? That's how we grew up. You had to be sneaky smart.

But her daughters do face other challenges that are unique to their generation and have not been present for past kids in the White House. As a family, they talk about Facebook and cellphone cameras. Her daughters are acutely aware that people have cameras everywhere and everybody is watching. She warns them ...

You can't go off on somebody. You can't act bratty. Because you may be having a moment, but somebody could use that moment and try to define you forever. So you want to be cognizant of that.

Her words speak to the reality for all kids today. It's a conversation we all need to have with our kids, but the pressure is so much higher when you're the President's daughters.

The ease with which the First Lady can move between discussing family and politics is a big reason she's so popular with moms. In a recent Moms Matter survey, we found her influence on moms' perception of Barack Obama to be hugely positive. Eighty-eight percent of Democrat moms view Barack more favorably because of her, and even 36 percent of Republican moms said they view the President more favorably because of her.

Her life is unfathomably different from ours in so many ways, yet it feels so similar when she talks about her daughters. Do you find her relatable?

2012 election, barack obama, michelle obama


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

Cafe... Cafe Suzanne

I do. I think she's very down to earth and really cares about her duaghters & their future.

wamom223 wamom223

I think she is out of touch about what she said about being smart and black.  Someone called my man a white boy for being educated just a couple weeks ago.  I don't relate to her at all and I think she needs to work on her poker face before the next debate.  She looked nervous and once they got started it made me feel like she knew to be nervous.  I've also heard a lot of people feel differently towards her since they feel she took a socialist plan to school lunches.  Personally, I've never been a fan and I think if you don't like what she did to school lunches you should have your kid brown bag it.

mustb... mustbeGRACE


                                         She doesn't interest me at all.

           I hope she moves in January.

Tammy Smith

She looks like she's so angry all the time and like she's p*ssed off at the world.  Not a fan, not at all!  I don't care for people who go through life believing they're owed something and always have a chip on their shoulder.

nonmember avatar merissa Joy Med

I have always loved Michele. I think she is a good role model for moms. I wish i could meet her and talk to her.she is very classy

Binah Bindell

She is Out of Touch with Americans. She is a fake…. She is an angry person.

Emma Graham

Wamom, I think she has tried to do a great thing with the school lunches. And in Arkansas, at the public schools, the teachers can take away a bagged lunch if it doens't meet the school's nutrition requirments. Alma middle school took away my nephew's peanut butter and honey whole wheat sandwhich and apple that his mom sent with him bc it didn't meet their standards. They replaced it with a slice of pizza (two vegetable servings according to them) and french fries. Oh, and a chocolate milk. Ridiculous.

nonmember avatar Stacy Allison

I am so tired of every one falling all over them selves talking about her like she is a god. What has she really done while in the White House that has truly mattered? Can't wait until she leaves the White House in January! People need to realize if they want to hero worship that they first need a hero.

PonyC... PonyChaser

What on EARTH did they do to her arm in that photograph??? It looks like an octopus tentacle!

Indig... IndigoLace

There is nothing familiar about this disconnected, self-centered, elitist socialist in comparison to myself or any moms I know. For example, we don't get to go on multiple luxurious, extravagant vacations with our extended families and entourages on the taxpayers dime. The government is supposed to work for us, not the other way around. Since her husband took office, my family can't even afford a simple vacation, let alone several every year in luxury resorts. I can't wait to kick her out of our White House.

1-10 of 12 comments 12 Last