Michelle Obama recently spoke candidly about her and her family’s experiences in the White House.
The former first lady of the United States discussed her desire to make her family life as normal as possible when she appeared on Conan O’Brien’s podcast, Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend. During the show’s most recent episode, the author and public speaker praised her daughters — Malia, 20, and Sasha, 17 — for how they’ve adjusted to their sudden fame throughout the years, per E! News.
“We had to parent by creating this cocoon of normalcy in a pretty crazy, abnormal world,” Obama told O’Brien. “We spent eight years just going, ‘It’s OK! You’ll be fine, this is normal, just go to school. You have men with guns… hey, you know, you’re safe, don’t complain! You have food, so don’t complain to me.'”
The Becoming author also recalled how she and her husband — former President Barack Obama — decided to continue attending parent-teacher conferences and “sitting on the sidelines” at their children’s games. Obama said the girls would also host sleepovers at the White House, something she remembers her daughters being against at first. Obama mentioned that the two girls couldn’t have been more wrong. She said that her daughters didn’t realize that just because they didn’t want to be there at the time, this didn’t mean that their friends shared the same sentiments.
The Obama family resided in the White House from 2009 throughout 2017, after Barack was elected president in 2008. The family was constantly under scrutiny, which made regular life for then-preteens Malia and Sasha quite difficult.
Shortly after the Obamas left the White House, photos of Malia partying with her friends at festivals began to appear. In February, The Daily Mail uncovered a secret Facebook account that belonged to Malia, according to AOL. In one post, the Harvard student reportedly shared an image of pink sticky notes that referred to President Donald Trump as “evil.” The images received backlash online due to the negative remarks towards the president. Many, however, came to Malia’s defense — including Chelsea Clinton, who could relate to Malia’s experiences in growing up in the White House. Clinton took to Twitter and said Malia that is a “private citizen,” and shouldn’t be treated as “clickbait.”
While Obama didn’t discuss her daughter’s actions on O’Brien’s podcast, she did mention she was “in awe” of both her daughters — and their resilience during that era.
“They’ve also had to sacrifice a lot of their childhoods, living in this glare and being the subject of some of this nastiness themselves and learning, at a very young age, how do you recover from that?” Obama explained. “They were the ones going out into the world every day, trying to be regular little girls.”