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.

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  • Except for the “I want to be like Beyonce” comment, this woman has and can do no wrong in my eyes!

    • TheRealDonDiva

      *scratches head* why the thumbs down on this comment?

  • TheRealDonDiva

    I am a SAHM for our 3 y/o daughter. I totally get Mrs. Obama’s single parent comment. I tell my husband all the time that I feel like a single parent. I do EVERYTHING for our daughter he does next to nothing. His job is very demanding, but that does not negate his responsibility as a parent. I think men think that if their wives stay at home, then they can just kick back and watch their children “miraculously” transform into productive human beings. I wish my husband would be more involved.

    • Southpaw

      But you live in a house and eat food that his demanding job have provided.

    • TR

      No disrespect, but my single mother worked two jobs. She didn’t have the option of being a SAHM. You may not think so, but your husband is providing you a level of convinience that many single mothers will kill for.

      He is making life you and your children easier. Maybe he could do more. Still there are countless women who would gladly take what he is giving you now.

    • Ed

      @uhhuh, amen! I’m sick and tired of people pretending Mrs Obama has had it made all her life and hasn’t known hardship and the strains of practically raising her daughters alone while Barack has been busy chasing his ambitions since forever. Even then she was raising the girls and still earning more money than him. So she was paying for a lot of the so-called conveniences.

      I’m also tired of the judgmental bitching of some single mothers who think that daddy’s clothes hanging in the closet means that he’s somehow a more hands on or present father than the father who gets and makes the most of his weekly or monthly visitation rights.

      Married mothers still do have their fair share of crosses to bear and living in that White House as the black First Lady is anything but a walk in the park. This was not her dream and historic or not, she probably would still prefer to live her life privately. This is a woman who gets as many death threats as her husband and has been subjected to unprecedented levels of attack, disrespect and dehumanization never before visited upon a U.S First Lady. And even the basic stuff that would have provided even the slightest bit of respite and normalcy – the family time she’e been assured because after all they’d be “living above the store” didn’t quite pan out the way they’d imagined. No couple or family time without some constant intrusive presence or entourage. A lesser woman would have lost their mind by now. I know I would have.

  • justanotheropinion

    As to the single mother comment – until you are truly doing it on your own, no staff, limited financial means, etc., please do not make comment the first on how tough it is to be single mother/parent. You have no idea whatsoever…

    • uhhuh

      But Barack’s political pursuits go as far back to the early 90’s before either of them had even reached the white house in order to have access to all the staff, resources, etc. She has said herself many times in the 2008 race that her husband’s inability to actively be there to help raise their girls made her feel like a single parent and caused uncertainty in their marriage and belief in his political career. So to espouse that she has never truly struggled as a sole parent is in itself demeaning.

      There are many solo parents who in a sense, are not struggling with the resources you’ve described, but certainly too must grapple with the environment around them and the reality that the bigger burden of raising a child falls solely on them. Barack’s biggest priority momentarily is the country, not his kids or family and therefore isn’t the one who has to share in the real emotional hardships of raising a family.

  • HTown

    Is that Radio behind Lady O?

  • Rachelle Monique

    “I want to be this really fly 80-, 90-year old.” I loved this quote!