As we hit the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 lockdown in the United States, we are all reflecting on how this unprecedented life experience has affected us. Add in a continuing reckoning on racial injustice and an historic presidential election and the last 12 months have left Americans with a lot to process. Just like the rest of us, former first lady Michelle Obama is thinking about her life — as a multi-hyphenate professional and as a mom — in this time.
In a Zoom interview for the new issue of People, the producer and star of Netflix’s new Waffles + Mochi kids’ series talks about what is was like quarantining with former President Barack Obama and their daughters, Malia, 22, and Sasha, 19 over the last year. While both daughters were away at college pre-pandemic, they returned home when their campuses shut down.
“Our girls were supposed to have emptied out of my nest,” she told People. “I was sort of celebrating that they were out building their lives and allowing me the emotional space to let them go. Well, they’re back!”
But as many families found during quarantine, all that time stuck at home together was a blessing. “This time has allowed us to get some stolen moments back with our girls,” said Obama, whose young readers’ edition of Becoming was released on March 2. “Those recaptured moments have meant the world to us, and I think they’ve made our relationships with our children even stronger.”
Of course, just because her daughters are young women now and not little girls, that didn’t mean that Obama didn’t do what a lot of moms did during this unusual opportunity: eavesdrop!
“With everybody homeschooling, what’s interesting for me is to listen in on some of their classes to hear how they interact with their professors,” said Obama, admitting she would sometimes listen at the door as her daughters streamed their online classes. “When your kids are off in college, you don’t get to see that part of them.”
Unfortunately for all eavesdropping moms, but very fortunately for the physical, emotional, and economic health of country, things are looking up in terms of the pandemic.
“There is light at the end of the tunnel,” said Obama, who has been vaccinated against COVID-19 and encourages everyone to get a vaccine as soon as they have an opportunity.
Soon the Obamas and the rest of us parents will have to reacquaint ourselves with the most we usually know our kids’ daily lives: It was “fine.”
Celebrate the beauty of different breastfeeding journeys through these photographs.