Michelle Obama: Mother or Professional?

February 24, 2009



There has been discussion recently about whether Michelle Obama’s focus on being a mom is a marketing ploy, authentic, or a hybrid of the two.  She has been described as  enamored with an idyllic past when her parents were able to support their family on one salary and her mother was able to stay home.  While I believe that to be true and do think that is part of the story, I think we also need to remember that if she had really wanted that life for her family she could have had it (God knows Barack Obama makes enough money for them to live on his salary alone), but her career was important to her and so she found ways to keep working while also being actively present for her girls.  And that is exactly what I think makes Obama so intriguing- she is struggling with and trying to find the right balance for her and her family.     

Whether Obama ends up focusing on being the mom-in-chief or takes a more active role as a spokesperson for her husband is such a focus in part, I think, because many of us, especially those of us in the nation’s capitol, wonder what decision we would make in that position and how it reflects on the decisions we have made in our own lives.  Am I more or less of a woman because I am not working full-time?  Am I more or less of a mother because I am trying to keep my career alive in some way, shape, or form by working part-time from home and not focusing completely on my child?  Am I betraying my feminist ideals by not working more? Etc., etc.

In the end, she is so exciting because she truly has the potential to do either (or both) insanely competently, with poise, and with seriously hot clothes.  And for that I truly envy her.


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