Raising kids in the White House is a pretty tall order.
On the latest episode of Conan O’Brien’s podcast Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend, Michelle Obama talks about her daughters Shasha, 17, and Malia, 20, and what it was like to raise them while her husband Barack was President of the United States.
“We had to parent by creating this cocoon of normalcy in a pretty crazy, abnormal world,” Obama says. “We spent eight years just going, ‘It’s OK! You’ll be fine, this is normal, just go to school. You have men with guns…hey, you know, you’re safe, don’t complain! You have food, so don’t complain to me.'”
She adds, “It was very much, keeping them in their reality. Making sure we went to the parent teacher conferences, and that we went to the games and that we were sitting on the sidelines with them.”
One way to keep things normal for her kids was to have their friends over for sleepovers, but Obama says her daughters were worried that “no one wants to come” to the White House.
“I was like, ‘You are wrong, my friend,'” she says. “But their view was, ‘I don’t want to be here, I’m here all the time. I want to go to X’s house.'”
Looking through it all, Obama says she is happy with how her children have grown into adulthood.
“I am in awe of my children for the way they have managed this whole thing with poise and grace,” she says. “There’s a resilience that they’ve had to develop.”
Obama continues, “They’ve also had to sacrifice a lot of their childhoods, living in this glare and being the subject of some of this nastiness themselves and learning, at a very young age, how do you recover from that. They were the ones going out into the world every day, trying to be regular little girls.”