Michelle Obama
Contributed by Eleanor Sherer
Chapter 14

There is no doubt that Michelle wanted to be a mother. The author asserts, “Motherhood became my motivator” (Obama 141). Both Michelle and Barack eventually became accustomed to taking care of their new baby girl Malia. Michelle resumed part-time work at the University of Chicago. However, although Michelle thought that working part-time would provide her with more freedom, the schedule almost left her feeling as if she were doing everything. At the same time, Barack was reelected to the Senate and was thinking of running for the U.S Presidency itself, however, Michelle never thought that he could win (Obama 142).

The Christmas period offered the couple an opportunity to relax and take a break from their demanding jobs. However, the author states that campaigning for Congress inhibited Barack from spending more time with his family; “…any minutes or hours a candidate spends privately with family are viewed basically as a waste of that valuable time” (Obama 143). As it turned out, Barack’s political engagement resulted in the couple delaying their Christmas visit to Hawaii. Unfortunately, when duty called, Barack had to rebook their flight home, in order to be in Illinois on time for an important vote on the crime-bill. Nonetheless, Malia’s sudden high fever curtailed Michelle and Barack from flying back, and he missed the vote. This subjected them to increased news scrutiny. Barack was viewed as a poor character for using his child as an excuse to miss the voting session (Obama 144). Barack’s opponents spread doubts among African Americans, making them question Barack’s true intentions and loyalty to the black community (Obama 145). After losing the election to Bobby Rush, Barack continued legislating and teaching while Michelle took a new job as an executive director. Balancing their work and family became even more demanding. The author states that she felt let down by Barack who was hardly at home with his family. Nonetheless, to save their cracking marriage, the couple decided to seek help from a marriage counselor (Obama 150).


After enduring a painful miscarriage and undergoing two IVF treatments, which ultimately enabled Michelle to give birth to her two daughters, the author admits that the challenges of balancing work and motherhood really began. However, in this chapter, the author states that although work matters, parents have an obligation to their children. In this case, Michelle strived to emulate her mother who would always prioritize her children’s happiness and care. Being a wife of a public figure also comes with a price. Michelle appears to demonstrate that Barack’s opponents found trivial reasons to disparage him during the campaign, thereby putting the entire family under media scrutiny. Despite the media scrutiny and the demand of their careers, Michelle found a way to balance her demanding work and motherhood.

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