Preparing to move into one of the most iconic residences in the world, Michelle Obama is wasting no time as the new first lady of the United States. At 2 p.m. Monday Nov. 10, she will have the opportunity of a lifetime as she explores the White House inside and out, with the help of experienced first lady Laura Bush at her side.
Decorating the entire mansion may take some time, but adapting to her new powerful role as first lady may come much quicker. Her resume is already filled with numerous leadership positions, given that she has experience as a lawyer, an administrator, a community outreach worker, and an executive director under her belt. At the forefront of her mind though lies the biggest and most important role of her entire life: the title of wife and mother.
“But, as my girls reminded me in Denver, even as First Lady, my number one job is still to be mom,” Michelle said. “[At] Seven and 10, our daughters are young.”
Given her family oriented focus, Michelle’s personal campaign as first lady will be address families across the nation and their troubles.
“I will work daily on the issues closest to my heart, helping working women and families, particularly military families,” Michelle said. “Now that the election is won, I’ll keep working to find solutions that make a real difference in people’s lives.”
In an article featured in Britain’s The Times newspaper, Mrs. Obama reiterated her focus on her “giggling girls,” attributing Malia and Sasha’s as the source of their presidential inspiration.
“Our girls are the centre of Barack’s and my world,” Michelle said. “They’re the reason he ran for president – to make the world a better place for them and for all children.”
Mrs. Obama met her husband at a top Chicago law firm, after attending Harvard University Law School. Despite resistance from faculty and students, she was accepted to Princeton University out of high school, as one of the first African American students to be admitted. Since then she has overcome many more gender-related and racially oriented obstacles, with her latest promotion to first lady serving as the icing on the cake.
“What a symbol that it will show to so many young boys and girls out there, particularly kids of color, who have never seen themselves in a major way,” she said.
Like first ladies before her, Michelle Obama is elegant, feminine, and politically active, suggested by many to be a mix of two powerful first ladies: Hilary Clinton and Jackie Kennedy.
“She’s not going to let the pulpit stay empty. I think she could be active the way Hillary Clinton was,” said Dr. Myra Gutin, author of The President’s Partner: The First Lady in the Twentieth Century. “Jackie was the first lady with great style, but not a lot of substance. With Michelle, I think she’s got great style – but she’s also got great substance.”
Letitia Baldridge, Jackie Kennedy’s former social secretary, also compared Michelle and Jackie to each other as well, saying it will be much more difficult for “Mrs. Obama to juggle the jobs of wife, mother, and first lady than it was for Mrs. Kennedy.”
“It’s a very tough job,” Baldridge said, but “The good parts of the job ‘compensate for all the trouble.’”
At the same time though, others believe she is a unique first lady that beats to her own drum.
I don’t think Michelle is like any other first lady,” said Dr. Naeemah Clark, a professor at the University of Tennessee. “Each woman in that position (and the world) is different, each having a different relationship with her husband, children, and the country. She is smart and highly accomplished. I think Michelle will be a good first lady. “