Wednesday, May 9, 2012


How would I handle the need to be perfect, look perfect, say the right thing, have no opinions on what Barack is saying and doing, not appear to be too black, too educated, too concerned with anything political.

And take care of him, the children and my mother.

And be "low profile " as millions of people are watching, and listening and reacting to everything I do.

And make decisions for the household, it's maintenance, menus, a thousand little and big things that have to do with guests, social engagements, charities, obligations.

And keep track of names, all sorts of data, on spouses, kids, personal issues of the many people that I need to keep track of along with world news -- facts, factors, all the things that involve the president, the country, the world, and ourselves -- our public and private selves.


Could I do that?

Could I attend all those meetings, pose for all those pictures, give speeches supporting education for children, the role of women, Veterans -- all kinds of things for Veterans?

And umpteen other things relating to environment, homelessness, human rights, healthier foods, and everyone exercising more?

And always -- speak simply, explain, never sell hard, or sound like an educated experienced executive, and lawyer?

As the First Lady, just be the supportive, gracious-hostess, wife of the President?

That's what First Ladies do.

I couldn't do it. Could you?

Where is the real Michelle -- the person she's been for 48 years? Her ideas, her real opinions and thoughts, her fears and wonderings and her own concerns?

She's subjugating what she is and what she feels in order to be the First lady.

What's going to happen to the real Michelle next year, and the year after?

First Lady Michelle Obama cannot think about that or do anything about that. She just has to take each day moment by moment.

What a woman!

Hey, how many pushups can you do?


MikesFilmTalk said...

Hey not to mention having to dress in such a way as to not appear like a fashion victim.

In all seriousness though, The First Lady is the perfect example of the "old fashioned stereotypical" relationship. You know the one I mean. "Behind every man, stands a supportive woman." Of course in this case, she does not fit the role of "the little woman" she has to present herself as the fully capable other half of a partnership.

As you quite rightly pointed out, she must sound educated, sophisticated and caring. She must display support of her husband and family at all times. I look at Michelle Obama and I immediately see a classy lady. One who has a sense of humour and is intelligent. Anyone who doubts my diagnosis just needs to look at the Ellen DeGeneres clip above.

I cannot imagine how difficult it must have been for Hilary Clinton (and I am not talking about her husbands peccadilloes here)to remain in the background when she so obviously had political aspirations of her own.

I have nothing but the greatest respect for anyone who takes on the role of First Lady. It is not a paid position, nor is it one which will garner a lot of praise. It is a job none the less and one that if you mess up, will have long ranging consequences. I would actually call it a "thankless" job, except for one detail. I am sure her husband, the President, thanks her as much as he can.

Great Blog, Ms Em!

Unknown said...

Awww EM, it's kind of that same ol 'woman thingy' many of us have done and will do in our lives ~ which is to put aside part of our mmm internal self for the benefit of the situation, husband, dynamics and duties that are expected for us to accomplish. I'm sure Mrs. Obama puts her authentic self and signature into being the First Lady. I must say that 'just about everybody else' including Mrs. Obama is much better at it all than am I. (smiling).
* * *
Sending love and good vibes Ms. EM, for you and your John Cullum and family. I'm your friend @grammakaye on twitter.

Carola said...

It will be interesting to see what she does after her husband leaves office. The possibilities for her will be endless.

Ameer S. Washington said...

If this is not the real Michelle Obama, and she's just playing the first lady, the real her might sit down and have someone write a book about it, after Obama's second term, or after he losses the election.

Being the the first couple of this country comes with responsibilities well understood. She's doing what she must to live up to the expectations of the people. Do the people really want a head strong first lady.

Even when Hilary Clinton was first lady, you didn't get the sense that she'd eventually become more of a political stalwart over time than the man she married that served 8 years as president. Nope, not until the Monica Lewinsky drama. Not until Bill's reign was almost coming to a close and everyone heard her and thought rather nonsensically that she was everything behind the man. I'd like to give him a little more credit than not.

In my eyes Michelle Obama probably isn't much different than what's being portrayed in the media. Not to mention, we already know she's smart and strong willed. I think more than anything she wants a sense of normalcy. Like when she went to Walmart in jeans and a baseball cap and no one noticed that it was her for almost the duration of her trip. She just wants to be wife and mom again. Sadly, largely, those days are over. A trip into the White House as Mister and Misses changes your life forever. Whether you want it to or not.

Linda Phillips said...

She is doing a fabulous job at being First Lady. I am sure that she has many strong opinions that she has to keep to herself that deviate from her husband's.

Only time will tell what she does once she is no longer First Lady. I suspect she will go on to do great things on her own. I just love her!

Maureen Jacobs said...

The First Lady handles herself with the utmost professionalism yet with a modern femininity. She is a wife, mother, daughter, and superstar. I find the appeal lies in how we all, as women, can relate to her. She respects her husband, his job, his world. Independent of that, she shows all of us that being a wife and mother can be fulfilling and stereotypes don't exist in her world.

Just be.

Maureen Jacobs

Anonymous said...

This needed saying and you said it well.

Kevin Daly said...

It's amazing how much criticism one faces by just being married to the winning candidate. Saw the revival of "The Best Man" the other evening, and it was interesting to see Candice Bergen's character approach the daily grind with a shyness and discomfort that read to others as cold. The job ain't for sissies, that's for sure!

I think she does a marvelous job and admire her immensely, but I wish more of our First Ladies were as candid and honest as Betty Ford.