It’s Michelle and Barack Obama’s 28th wedding anniversary on October 3, and we’re celebrating in a slightly unconventional way: by revisiting some of our favorite Obama parenting quotes. Though the former president and first lady did enjoy six years of married life before they had Malia in 1998, we have always known them as parents. We’ve watched Malia and Sasha Obama grow up before our eyes, and we find ourselves turning to their parents’ wisdom often when we need parenting advice for ourselves.
Then again, even as we look to the Obamas as examples of how to raise our children with humility, empathy, and respect, we also have never quite gotten over our envy of their daughters, wishing that Barack and Michelle were our parents. No shade to our own moms and dads, of course, but few can top Barack Obama’s dad jokes or Michelle Obama’s no-nonsense motivational speeches.
We’re lucky that after leaving the White House, both Obamas have gradually returned to us to provide more guidance for mom and dad life. Michelle Obama in particular dropped nugget after nugget of parenting wisdom in her memoir Becoming and on her podcast. The latter came at just the right time, too — as we all waded into the weird and trying family time that is 2020. Instead of relaxing alone while Sasha and Malia are away at college, Mom and Dad Obama have found themselves with the girls back home and doing their schoolwork remotely. And still, they’ve all managed this change with grace.
One huge sign of just how good the Obamas have been at raising their daughters: We know so very little about their private lives. Try as the tabloids and conspiracy theorists did, Sasha and Malia have never been the source of scandal the way other first children before and after them were (remember the Bush twins?). Maybe they’ll enter public life one day, but it’s clear those two are going to keep on growing up and learning to be responsible adults for now — the way mom and dad taught them.