In an interview with our Forever first lady Michelle Obama in September issue of British Vogue’s, which has been secretly guest-edited by Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, as might be expected of a conversation between a new mother and the woman Vogue calls America’s one-time “mother-in-chief,” talk naturally turned to motherhood and its many lessons.
“Being a mother has been a masterclass in letting go,”Obama said. “As mothers, we just don’t want anything or anyone to hurt our babies. But life has other plans. Bruised knees, bumpy roads and broken hearts are part of the deal.”
Speaking specifically of now-college-aged first daughters Malia and Sasha, who literally grew up before the nation’s eyes Obama got even more candid.
“What’s both humbled and heartened me is seeing the resiliency of my daughters,” she said. “In some ways, Malia and Sasha couldn’t be more different. One speaks freely and often, one opens up on her own terms. One shares her innermost feelings, the other is content to let you figure it out. Neither approach is better or worse, because they’ve both grown into smart, compassionate and independent young women, fully capable of paving their own paths.”
“Motherhood has taught me that, most of the time, my job is to give them the space to explore and develop into the people they want to be…not to bulldoze a path for them in an effort to eliminate all possible adversity,” she added. “But instead, I need to be a safe and consistent place for them to land when they inevitably fail; and to show them, again and again, how to get up on their own.”
“I tell them that I hope they’ll keep trying on new experiences until they find what feels right. And what felt right yesterday might not necessarily feel right today, That’s OK—it’s good, even,” she said. “As a younger woman, I spent too much time worrying that I wasn’t achieving enough, or I was straying too far from what I thought was the prescribed path. What I hope my daughters will realize a little earlier is that there is no prescribed path, that it’s OK to swerve, and that the confidence they need to recognize that will come with time.”
And when obama asked what knowledge think her own straightlaced, 15 years old would share?
She responded ” I imagine that she’d be proud of how far I’ve come—but she wouldn’t let me off the hook, either. She’d remind me there are still too many girls on the South Side of Chicago who are being shushed, cast aside or told they’re dreaming too big. She’d tell me to keep fighting for them.”