When Michelle Obama was the first lady, she often seemed like the fun class mom we all wished we could be and have: self-assured, warm, and fully into whatever activity she’d been tasked with, whether by choice or by official duty. Now, after spending so much time reading her words, watching her documentary, and enjoying her interviews and speeches, we know that there’s so much more to the attorney-turned-politician’s-wife-turned-media mogul. Still, as we celebrate Obama’s 57th birthday this year, we’re taking the time to honor all the wisdom she’s shared about motherhood.
As Michelle Obama raised daughters Sasha and Malia in the public eye, we saw a bit of how she was as a mother, even as she and former President Barack Obama have always guarded their daughters’ privacy pretty well. But she’s spent the past few years revealing more about the parenting that went on before they moved to the White House, and behind the scenes once they were there. Like any other mother, Obama doesn’t feel like she did a perfect job. But when she looks at the young women Sasha and Malia have become, she can probably be a satisfied with the great job she did.
While promoting her book and movie Becoming, Obama opened up about the difficult journey she and Barack took to become America’s mom and dad. She discussed the hard work her own parents put in to give her and brother Craig a happy childhood and a good education. And she revealed the steps she took to make sure her much more privileged girls wouldn’t grow up spoiled. Now that both of them are looking to keep inspiring the next generation, Michelle continues to drop wisdom about making sure our kids know love, freedom, and the drive to do good for others.
We’ve already gathered great words of parenting wisdom from both Obamas. But we can probably continue to fill up dozens more pages with Michelle Obama’s best mom quotes. Here, at least, are some more of our favorites.