Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Michelle Obama: Family is everything

First Lady Michelle Obama

First Lady Michelle Obama says despite her and her husband's pressured work schedules, their daughters will always be their main concern.

The stunning wife of American President Barack Obama graces the April cover of coveted fashion bible Vogue.

Michelle - who has appeared in the publication once before - shows off her style credentials in the magazine as well as sitting down for an accompanying interview.

The 49-year-old says despite her and her husband's pressured work schedules, their daughters Malia, 14, and Sasha, 11 will always be their main concern.

"Our job is, first and foremost, to make sure our family is whole. You know, we have small kids; they're growing every day," she explained. "But I think we were both pretty straightforward when we said, 'Our number one priority is making sure that our family is whole.'

"The stresses and the pressures of this job are so real that when you get a minute, you want to give that extra energy to your 14 and 11 year old."

Michelle says a lot of her husband's great qualities have rubbed off on her. The couple - who have been married for 20 years - believe remaining positive and composed is the key to success and happiness.

"Well, patience and calm I'm borrowing. Or trying to mirror. I've learned that from my husband, that sort of, you know, ability to not get too high or too low with changes and bumps in the road," she gushed when asked what she's learned from Barack.

"To do more breathing in and just going with it. I'm learning that every day. And to the extent that I’ve made changes in my life, it's just sort of stepping back and seeing a change not as something to guard against but as a wonderful addition... that can make life fun and unexpected."

Barack was also interviewed for the publication and discussed why his marriage works so well. He praised Michelle for showing him the importance of being grounded and understanding planning ahead, concepts he struggled with when they first tied the knot.

"What Michelle has done is to remind me every day of the virtues of order," he said. "Being on time. Hanging up your clothes. Being intentional about planning time with your kids. In some ways I think ... we’re very different people, and some of that’s temperamental, some of it is how we grew up."

While Michelle had a solid upbringing, Barack's was more fluid. He describes his mother as someone who had a "wonderful spirit" and encouraged him to test himself. While that was great advice, it made the early stages of his relationship hard.

"I’m more comfortable with change and adventure and trying new things, but the downside of it is, sometimes - particularly when we were early on in our marriage - I wasn’t always thinking about the fact that my free-spirited ways might be having an impact on the person I’m with," he mused. "And conversely, early in our marriage, Michelle provided this sense of stability and clarity and certainty about things, but sometimes she resisted trying something new just because it might seem a little scary or push her out of her comfort zone."

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