Giving a rare insight into their pre-White House days, US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle have spoken about their family life when both of them were in jobs and found it tough to spend time together.
“Barack was in Springfield; then he was in Washington. I was in Chicago, trying to manage these two beautiful girls, trying to still hold down a part-time job,” the First Lady said while addressing the first White House Summit of Working Families.
“The first thing I tried to do, which was a mistake, was that I tried the part-time thing. But what I realised was that I got gipped on that front, because when you are working a professional job, what happened was I got a part-time salary but continued to work full-time,” she said amidst applause.
Before Michelle spoke, Obama too gave a glimpse of the what the family life was before he becoming the US President.
“But before I moved into the White House, I was away a lot sometimes with work, sometimes with campaigning. Michelle was working full-time and was at home with the responsibility all too often of dealing with everything that the girls needed,” he said.
“I understand how lucky we are now, because there was a big chunk of time when we were doing what so many of you have to deal with every day, and that is figuring out how do we make this whole thing work,” Obama said.
Narrating her experience, Michelle said she lost the baby sitter after Sasha was born.
This, she said, “was probably the worst time of my motherhood”. “I was so devastated because that balance, that work-family balance is so fragile, and you realise how fragile it is that with a blink of an eye of a broken toilet, a sick child, a sick parent, that balance is thrown off,” Michelle said.
“After we lost that first babysitter, someone we developed trust with, you let them in their home, they were wonderful, they loved your kid, and then she left for good reason; she left because she needed to make more money. But it was devastating. And I said then, I quit. Just forget it. I’m ot doing it again,” she said.
The First Lady said soon after that she received a call from the University of Chicago Hospital for a job interview.
“And by then I was ready to be done, but that empowered me. I said I don’t even want this job, so I’m going to go to the interview and I’m just going to be whoever I’m going to be,” Michelle said.
“They’re going to have to deal with it. And who I was at the time was a breast-feeding mother of a four-month old…and I didn’t have a babysitter, so I promptly took Sasha continued…