Michelle Obama opens up about being “on the other side of parenting” and the unexpected joy of watching your kids grow up
If there’s anything parents know, it’s that time flies. One day your kids are in diapers, the house is a mess, and you feel like you’ll never know what it’s like to get an uninterrupted night’s sleep again. And before you know it, your kids are going to school, becoming teenagers, graduating and starting their own lives. Michelle Obama knows this all too well—her two daughters are now both in their 20s. And on a recent episode of her podcast, Miche opened up about the unexpected joy she’s experienced during this new stage that she calls, “on the other side of parenting.”
“I’m moving from mom-in-chief to advisor-in-chief,” she explained on the first episode of her new podcast, The Light Podcast. “That’s a lovely thing—to be able to watch my girls fly and have the relief that ‘Okay, I think I didn’t mess them up.'”
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That doesn’t mean that nothing in Obama’s relationship with her daughters has changed—but she points out how some of the changes are welcome, like how she’s able to communicate with Sasha and Malia without “a critical eye.” She recalled one incident when Malia walked into the room in wrinkled clothes.
“She walks in, maybe the second time I saw her this morning, and I was like ‘you’re wrinkly, you’re gonna do something about this’ and she was like ‘yeah mom,'” Obama explained. “And then I thought, ‘I did it.’ I greeted her with, instead of what I felt, which is, ‘sit on my lap, give me a kiss’’ I’m fixing things. I’m pointing out, ‘oh my god your hair is not right here.'”
She continued, “What Toni Morrison says is that our kids just want our gladness, they don’t need us to fix them. They don’t need us to point out the thing that is wrong, first.”
That’s some advice moms everywhere can take to heart.
The change in her relationship with her kids is a big part of why Obama says she thinks some of her best days are ahead of her.
As the now 59-year-old mom put it, “I didn’t feel like I came into my own until I was in my 50s.”
So to the sleep-deprived moms with chaotic homes and lives, this is your sign: enjoy every moment you can (when you’re able), but know that it only gets better from here.