Michelle Obama's Secret To Being A Good Mother


First lady Michelle Obama says women should do what makes them happy, a lesson she says she learned after realizing her two children, her husband and her physical health feed off of her good moods.

In an interview appearing in the November issue of Prevention magazine, Michelle discusses the meaning of good health, aging and her exercise, diet and beauty routines. She sat for the interview at the White House in late July.

Michelle says she learned “what not to do” from her mother, Marian Robinson, who now lives at the White House.

“She’d say being a good mother isn’t all about sacrificing. It’s really investing and putting yourself higher on your priority list,” Michelle said. She said her mother put her own two children first, sometimes to the detriment of herself.

“She encouraged me not to do that,” Michelle said.

Michelle said there are many facets to good health — physical, internal, emotional, diet — and all are intertwined.

“Throughout my life, I’ve learned to make choices that make me happy and make sense for me. Even my husband is happier when I’m happy,” Michelle. “So I have freed myself to put me on the priority list and say, yes, I can make choices that make me happy, and it will ripple and benefit my kids, my husband and my physical health.”

“That’s hard for women to own. We’re not taught to do that,” she added. “It’s a lesson that I want to teach my girls.”

Asked for a definition of happiness, Michelle said it’s when daughters Malia, 11, and Sasha, 8, “are good and when my family is whole.” She expressed relief that early in the year after moving from Chicago the girls came and told her they liked living in the White House.

“My happiness is measured against theirs. When they’re in a good place, I feel really good,” she said.

Michelle, 45, also said she has no fear about getting old.

“To me, with age, everything has gotten better,” Michelle said.

She strives to be “on the cusp of being in the best shape that I can be” in, but has found she needs to work a little harder at it the older she gets. As a result, she has begun to incorporate more Pilates moves and stretching into her workouts to maintain flexibility.

Michelle also is working on balancing out her diet, which she said has “no absolute no’s.”

“Overall, it’s good, but there are some great bakers” at the White House, she said, noting that pie is always available. “So for me, it’s about setting up new boundaries. I had some challenges with that, but I’m balancing out.”



  1. w3ndy says

    #7 – I am Canadian too & I totally agree with you!

    The girls are beautiful.. I think that Malia looks like her mom & Sasha looks more like her dad 🙂

  2. traveler says


    I agree. Children nowadays are spoiled brats. I spent the last 3 years working in retail and I’ve seen it first hand. No one teaches them to respect anymore. And no one teaches them that this world does not revolve around them. I’m all for doing whats in the best interest of the child, but I think children need to know that it isn’t always about them and that sometimes they come in second to the marriage/relationship. I think it makes for a healthier marriage/relationship, healthier parents, and healthier children.

  3. Kasha says

    It goes with the whole “helicopter parenting” phenom that has spread across this country the past decade or so….kids cannot plaY outside by themselves, go to the mall by themselves…..parents will not even let their
    13-year-old(!!!) kid stay home for a few hours by themselves…..(you never know what could happen!! YEAH, LIKE NOTHING WILL HAPPEN)….

  4. Kasha says

    On the topic of “modern parenting”, I actually find that it is the opposite of some have said on this thread “that it is all about me, me, me…….” I find that to my annoyance and horror that it is mostly about “them, them, them…..(being the kids)……most parents that I meet (I am NOT saying all) are SOOOOO into their kids 24/7 that it makes me ill. Their kids are perfect, their kids did NOTHING wrong, all their FREE time is spent with the kids, we NEVER have date nights (we have kids!)……..that is why little league games and such do not even keep score anymore! (do not want the kids to feel sad that they lost!!)…….I find it WAY too kid orientated in society! I don’t want it to go back to the 50’s when kids were seen and not heard, but it is ridiculous in modern times.

  5. Dnice says

    @ Nicole and KMS. I am very aware of socialism and I not in favor of it. My reaction to your post was me growing weary of the constant scruitinization of our president. Here we have a picture of a beautiful family and the first thing you think about is Socialism. It has nothing to do with the picture or the article. I am not in favor of every decision he makes, but I do respect him and rally behind him because at least he is trying to something to help our country and Americans. I may not agree with how he is doing it, but I appreciate the effort. It’s more than I can say for that weasly Texan who in 8 years did nothing to help our country, or create jobs, or reform healthcare. It really surprises me that the main people (republicans – no offense) who have so much to say about Obama – just sat by and did nothing while the Bush administration led us down the rabbit hole to nowhere for 8 years. Alot of the hard decisions that have to be made today are in due to the negligence that was demonstrated during the Bush administration. I respect your opinions and I am not trying to start a political blog war, I just thought I would explain what I meant by that.

  6. Lila says

    I can’t look at this photo without thinking of their secret service code names; Renegade,Renaissance,Radiance and Rosebud.

    How perfect a name for Malia is “Radiance”?

    What a beautiful family…and how refreshing to have such an articulate,elegant man in the White House.

  7. samsmom says

    Traveler and Lilibet,
    Thanks for sharing your opinion in a respectful way. I have seen so much bashing on this site lately, I almost didn’t post.

    I do agree with both of you. I do think we need to take time and take special care of ourselves and our spouses too. I do not want to be that woman who does not know her husband anymore after the kids have grown up and left the house. I just see so much of a “me, me, me” philosophy in our society that is makes me worry for the future of our children. Everything from movies to advertisements is geared towards what makes “you” happy is most important. Unfortunately sometimes that is to the detriment of marriages, children, and family.

    I know that Michelle was not talking in these extremes, her words just happened to strike a chord with me.

  8. Cindyo says

    What are you talking about? I was asking what was wrong with my question “who said he was a socialist?”. Being a law student I know full well what a socialists is, we just finished covering all the theories of law.

  9. Nicole says

    #8- Obviously you know nothing about Socialism, otherwise you wouldn’t make such an ignorant statement.

  10. Kasha says

    Samsmom; you scare the heck out of me. A woman putting herself first does not mean that she lets her kids run around naked, watching Jerry Springer and listening to Britney Spears all day *shudder* it means that you take care of yourself and are happy with yourself first so you CAN take care of your kids. It is what makes you a good mother; not the other way around. You sound like the type when we hear the lectures on airplanes, “Place the mask on yourself then your child” to do the TOTAL opposite. Scary.

    And I LOVE the Obamas. Sigh. What an awesome and inspirational family. Michelle is so beautiful.

  11. Lilibet says

    #9 you will learn the hard way that putting your children
    above all else is not a good thing to do. Happy and
    successful and healthy kids learn happy and healthy
    attitudes from a positive family. A husband who loves
    his wife and vice versa. If you don’t keep yourself
    educated, fun and happy with activiities that make you
    fulfilled, you can’t pass that along to your kids. You will be depressed and possibly resent your kids. Being a parent does not mean being a martyr.
    And then what happens my dear when for 18 years
    you have ignored your spouse to the detriment of your
    kids. It’s called DIVORCE.

  12. traveler says

    Dnice: I hear ya!

    samsmom: She didn’t say she puts herself above her kids, just that she allows herself to be on the priority list. Everyone needs to be happy and everyone needs to do things for themselves sometimes. If you don’t invest a little in yourself, then you’ll be unhealthy and in turn, your children will be also. It’s good that she learned from her mother’s mistakes and takes her mother’s very wise advice. Hopefully, it’s setting a good example for her daughters.

  13. samsmom says

    I think any parent (mother or father) who does not put their children’s needs above their own is selfish. Yes, put yourself higher on your priority list, but not above your children. You brought them into this world, life is not all about you anymore.

  14. Cindyo says

    Why is my comment “awaiting moderation”? I just said he had a great smile, wished he was our leader and wondered who said he was a socialist? What the heck is wrong with that?

  15. Cindyo says

    I LOVE Obama. He’s the best and has a great smile. I am Canadian and wish we had a leader like him! (and not just because of his smile)
    PS. Who says he’s a socialist?

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