Michelle Obama is currently touring the United States to talk about her new memoir, Becoming. Recently, at the first New York stop of her book tour, she spoke about women, marriage and the painful reality about women “having it all”.
Obama also spoke candidly her own marriage, discussed parenting and the significance of female friendships. She shared about the struggles of being a working mom, mentioning that years ago, there was a time when she was balancing a full-time job as a lawyer and raising her daughters. This, she said, was during the time her husband was often out of town in Washington D.C., campaigning, or travelling for work. Time to get inspired and take a look at the six defining statements Obama made at the New York stop of her book tour.
Getting real about how women still can’t “have it all”
“Marriage still ain’t equal, y’all. It ain’t equal. And I tell women that it’s not equal—that whole ‘so you can have it all’? Nope, not at the same time. That’s a lie. And it’s not always enough to lean in, because that shit doesn’t work all the time. … I’m back. I thought we were at home, y’all. I was gettin’ real comfortable up in here. But I’m back now. But sometimes, that STUFF doesn’t work. So oftentimes, it’s not equal, and you feel a bit resentful about it. And so then it’s time to go to marriage counseling.”
Paid tribute to her parents, Marian and the late Fraser Robinson, who, she said, instilled the values in her at a young age
“I had a childhood with parents who didn’t have a lot in the way of money, but they had a lot in the way of value and character and love and stability and consistency. And I want parents to understand that I became who I am not because my parents were networked or college educated or had a lot of money or knew a lot of stuff about things that they thought we needed to know. They gave us absolutely what we needed, which was love and trust and the values that they came here with. And THAT’S what kids need. That will get them through.”
Dangers of being a woman in today’s world
“The world is dangerous, sadly, for women. I want us to just kinda sit with that for a minute, because it’s usually men who make it dangerous for us. And it doesn’t always look like physical abuse. It doesn’t always look the same. It’s those little cuts. Those little negative comments. It’s somebody, when you’re walking down the street and some man looks at you and makes a comment about you, as if you wanted…that’s a cut. That’s a slice into a woman’s self-esteem, when somebody talks down to them. If you talk down to women at all, and a woman is in earshot of what you’re saying, that’s a cut to her. And then the cuts get deeper, because there’s abuse and there’s rape. There’s sexual assault. There’s all this that we’re hearing. The world is unsafe for women, and I want our men to understand that about what role they’re playing to make us feel safe or unsafe. But I grew up in safety and security. I grew up where I trusted men to take care of me. And I think that that gave me a level of strength that carries me through to this day.”
On attending marriage counselling with her husband
“What I learned in counseling was that I was responsible for my own happiness. And that was part of my frustration. I expected my husband now to not only just be my partner, but to fill me up in ways that were my responsibility. Counseling helped me to sort of take a step back and look at, ‘How do I take control of my own happiness within our marriage?’ And how to prioritize myself. Because that’s what we do as women. We’re so busy puttin’ everyone else before us. And then we burn out. We’re like, fourth on our list, or fifth on our list.”
Reminds women to support each other
“Sometimes we can’t do this alone, and we shouldn’t have to. I relied on my girlfriends to get me through one of the hardest eight years of my life. … We have to remember to be that for each other and have to be each other’s light. We cannot get into that catty stuff. Have to find a way to continue to lift other women up in our worlds and in our lives as much as possible, you all. It is the only reason why I’m breathing. I couldn’t have gotten through raising my kids with a husband traveling without my girls.”