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'No one wants to hear about Barack's day': Michelle on 'normal' life in the White House

21 OCTOBER 2011

In public, their life is anything but typical.

But behind the closed doors of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, things remain surprisingly normal for America's First Family.

In a candid interview with iVillage recently, 'mom-in-chief' Michelle Obama gave an insight into the day-to-day running of her home in the White House.

And it's clear that much of it revolves around her daughters.

"They're terrific girls, they're poised and they're kind and they're curious," Michelle said of Malia, 13, and Sasha, ten.


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"And like any mother, I am just hoping I don't mess them up!".

Most important to Michelle is that her children are able to enjoy a normal childhood.

And, she likes to keep tabs by calling up friends after Malia and Sasha have visited them to ask how they seemed.

"They're the same kids, they're the same girls," she hears.

But, she says, she'll always add: "Ok, good. Just tell me if you see anything – just let me know." 

Michelle and husband Barack's ongoing "fight for their normalcy" means Malia and Sasha are also responsible for household chores.

"The first thing is establishing rules among the staff that they're not little princesses," the First Lady said.


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"They have to make their own beds; they have to clean their rooms… Sasha has started doing laundry - Malia was supposed to be doing it but she (Sasha) is really into laundry."

Like most mums, Michelle also regulates television time – the girls are not allowed to watch TV or use the computer during the week, unless it's for schoolwork.

And on weekends, they are allowed to watch limited programmes, including reality shows like Keeping Up with the Kardashians – though their father doesn't always approve of their viewing choices.

"When they watch that stuff, (Barack) doesn’t like that as much," she said.

"But…I'm more concerned with how they take it in – what did you learn when you watched that? And if they're learning the right lesson, like, that was crazy, then I'm like, ok."


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Domestic jobs aside, Michelle insists that ultimately "it’s the interaction that we have as a family that makes it feel like a home."

"It's sitting down at the dinner table and having Barack's day be really the last thing anyone really cares about," she said.

"So he's sort of the throw-on piece. It's like, 'Oh yeah Daddy, and what did you do today?'"

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