"I don't want anybody to think that it's easy. It works because we really work at it ... We have a strong marriage, but it's not perfect," she told People in this week's issue, which hit newsstands today.
Every night they do this thing at the dinner table called roses and thorns. "We each share our rose and our thorn," she says. "Malia has pointed out to Barack that, as she said, 'Dad you seem to have a pretty thorny job.' We looked at each other and laughed and said, 'It's okay, you can say that.'"
As for the First Puppy ... yes, it's coming. Sheesh! April, says Michelle, in April. It'll probably be a Portuguese water dog - one of those lumbering, scruffy hypo-allergenic pups. Ted Kennedy lobbied for the breed. (These people lobby for everything.)
Malia sounds like she's picked up a thing or two living in a house with two lawyers. Here goes Mom and daughter's conversation about when the First Pup will arrive:
"So Sasha says, 'April 1st.' I said, 'April.' She says, 'April 1st.' It's, like, April!," Mrs. Obama recalls. "Got to do it after spring break. You can't get a new dog and then go away for a week."
Michelle described her girls as "comic relief" who keep the tone in the White House light. "We're dealing with the age range where they're pretty funny in their observations and sort of lack of being impressed with any of this," she said. She's also let them know that they're free to roam about their sprawling home - and even venture into the Oval Office when they feel like it. "I've tried to encourage them to feel like this whole place is their home," Mrs. Obama says. "We actually had this conversion - just let us know where you're going."
Michelle also talks about why she agreed to grace the cover of Vogue magazine this month. She did it for African American girls. "While I don't consider myself a fashionista," she says, "I thought it was good for my daughters and little girls just like them, who haven't seen themselves represented in these magazines, hopefully to talk more broadly about what beauty is, what intelligence is, what counts."
What's life like for a mom in the White House? "I have to say, I've had a lot of rosy days ... I think I have the good end of the deal," she said. She gets up at 5:30 a.m. every day, has two Blackberries and finds time to read The New Yorker.
How does she do it? No TiVo. "For me, I think TiVo would be dangerous. The notion of, like, sitting and watching shows for hours, I could see getting caught up in that."
|Ronda Kaysen is a freelance writer. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, BusinessWeek.com, Architectural Record, Huffington Post, New York Observer and AM New York. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.|