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How having family by his side helped Barack Obama deal with the stress of his job

In his podcast, the former US president revealed what it was like for him to become a father, and the sacrifices made by wife Michelle in bringing their daughters into the world

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
March 31, 2021 3:50:16 pm
Barack Obama, Barack Obama family, Barack Obama podcast, Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, Barack Obama family life, Barack Obama daughters, Barack Obama news, indian express newsJuggling fatherhood alongside his political career was difficult. But Barack Obama had wife Michelle's support throughout. (Photo: Instagram/@barackobama)

He served as the president of his country, and had many roles and duties, but at home, Barack Obama ensured he was very much a family man and a present husband and father. In the latest episode of his podcast Renegades: Born in the USA, Obama talked to Bruce Springsteen about his early days, starting a life with his wife Michelle, raising their daughters, and how she gave him the “greatest gift” of his life: the chance to become a father, among other things.

“We had this nice stretch of about three years where [Michelle] was doing her thing in her career and I was doing mine. Then we started trying to have kids. Took a while. Michelle had a couple miscarriages and we had to kind of work at it. When Malia was finally born, we were more than ready to be parents, right? ‘Cause there had been this six-year stretch in which probably for about half of it, we had been trying, so there was no surprise to it,” he said in the podcast, as quoted in a Popsugar report.

 

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The former US president met his wife when they attended law school together. He revealed that having children was always a part of their long-term plan.

Malia, their elder daughter, was born in 1998, and Obama reflected on when he held her for the first time. “I had no doubt the minute I saw that little creature with those big eyes looking up at me, I said, ‘My goodness. I will do anything for you’.” Three years later, when Sasha was born, he felt the same way. “The love of being a father was not something I had to work on. It was physical, it was emotional, spiritual. The attachment to my children I felt entirely and completely. I thought to myself, ‘Okay. If the baseline is unconditional love, I’ve got that’,” he said.

Obama also shared that he was happy to take the night shift for his daughters when they were babies, feed, change and talk to them. “This is one place where I do think the idea of what it means to be a man changed in a real way. By the time I had Malia, it wasn’t just that I was completely absorbed and fascinated and in love with this bundle of joy, and this woman who had gone through everything to give me this joy. There was, I think, a sense that, ‘Oh, dads should want to spend time with their kids and should want to burp them and change diapers’.”

 

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He also revealed that juggling fatherhood alongside his political career was difficult. But his wife was incredibly supportive of his ambitions. “The first six months of me running for president, I was miserable because I was missing that family bad. And we got through that only by virtue of Michelle’s heroic ability to manage everything back home and the incredible gift of my daughters loving their daddy anyway.”

But once he took office, he had more time for his family. “And so, I just set up a rule: I’m having dinner with my crew at 6.30 every night unless I’m travelling. But my travel schedule [was] very different [then] because people [came] to see you.”

But he would continue to sit with his daughters even post dinner and listen to their stories. “I’m gonna be sitting there and I’m gonna be entirely absorbed with stories about the annoying boys and the weird teacher and the drama in the cafeteria, reading Harry Potter and tucking them in and listening to whatever music they’re now listening to,” he said, adding that being able to spend time with his wife and kids was “incredibly meaningful”, for it helped him deal the stress of his job.

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