She is America’s first lady, but to first daughters Malia,11, and Sasha,8, Michelle Obama is their mom-in-chief. As a self-proclaimed “Mom-in-Chief”, First Lady Obama’s top priority is to make sure her kids are well taken care of.

“You’ve got a lot of people who are willing to help and to make life easy,” says the first lady. “We have to just make sure that people aren’t walking in behind them doing things they should be doing for themselves … We have to set some pretty clear boundaries with the staff to ensure the kids still take ownership of their spaces. We have to demand that.”

How the mom-in-chief handles…

Family dinners: “The girls “pretty much want the floor 85% to 90% of the time. If the conversation is good, we can be at the table for a good 35 to 45 minutes. But sometimes I have to break it up because it’s time to walk the dog.”

School work: “I want them doing their homework in their rooms. Usually my mother or me, we’re around, coming in and out, just helping them and checking in on them. The first thing they have to do when they get home on Friday, usually, is a little homework. That’s the same thing when they wake up on Saturday morning. They can’t just run and turn on the TV. I have to see that they’ve done a page of homework.”

Computers: “During the week, they can be on the computer, but it has to be for schoolwork. You have to sort of monitor that, because there’s Skype and all that, and you sort of lean over and you think, ‘Are you really doing schoolwork?'”

Spanking: “I did it one or two times and just found it to be completely ineffective because it was less about teaching a lesson and more about my own [feelings]. Malia was younger, probably 4.”

Allowance: “That’s the president’s responsibility, and it’s been sort of hit or miss because he’ll forget. There are just some things I don’t want to have to monitor, so I tell Malia, in particular, ‘If you want your allowance, you have to remember to ask for it, or else you don’t get it.’ ”

Waking up for school: “I got my kids alarm clocks very early because I want them to be able to control their time independently, so they wake up on their own.”

Boys: “They’re not really interested. Right now, the thought of boys is just like, ‘Yuck! Please!’ ” Interview


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