Michelle Obama praises daughters Malia and Sasha for their grace and resilience: 'I am in awe of my children'

The former first lady said that it hasn't been easy for them to grow up in the public eye because of the constant scrutiny they were under


                            Michelle Obama praises daughters Malia and Sasha for their grace and resilience: 'I am in awe of my children'

Former First Lady Michelle Obama on Monday said that she is incredibly proud of her two daughters, Malia, 20, and Sasha, 17, who have turned into poised, graceful and resilient young women in spite of their unusual childhood.

Obama made the statement while sitting down with Conan O'Brien for a new episode of his Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend podcast and spoke about how her daughters have become such capable young adults. "I am in awe of my children for the way they have managed this whole thing with poise and grace. There's a resilience that they've had to develop," she said.

The former first lady said that it hasn't been easy for them to grow up in the public eye because of the constant scrutiny they were under. The 54-year-old, at the show, admitted that her daughters used to find her and former President Barack Obama "hugely embarrassing," the Daily Mail reported.

US President Barack Obama and his family (L-R) Malia, Sasha, and first lady Michelle Obama return to the South Lawn of the White HouseJanuary 3, 2016 in Washington, DC. The first family is returning from their two-week Hawaiian vacation. (Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama and his family (L-R) Malia, Sasha, and first lady Michelle Obama return to the South Lawn of the White HouseJanuary 3, 2016 in Washington, DC. The first family is returning from their two-week Hawaiian vacation. (Getty Images)

"Imagine showing up to parent-teacher conferences with a 20-car motorcade and police officers yelling at the teachers, "Move out of the way!"' Michelle Obama said.

"We've given them so much more than any of us have ever had — they have met the pope and the queen and they’ve done things no kid would ever do — but they've also had to sacrifice a lot of their childhoods. Living in this glare and being the subject of some of this nastiness themselves and learning from a very young age how to recover from that, how to steal yourself," she added.

The former first lady, while recalling one instance years ago, said that when Malia was much younger and was on a field trip with her class at a museum, another class of fifth graders there recognized her and started taking pictures.

"And she had to take it upon herself, because no teachers were stopping this, no grown-ups. She gathered them around, and said, 'Now, I'm very excited to see all of you, but I'm here with my school so I can't take pictures with all of you.' She took the moment to be gracious. That's how my kids have had to operate. Strangers approaching them. And being angry if they don't want to take pictures," Obama continued.

"Imagine trying to have your first kiss or sneak a cigarette and you're on Page Six. They've had to learn how to steel themselves and then come out not being resentful, not being cynical, and still being curious about the world. My hat's off to them," she added.

U.S. President Barack Obama walks with his wife Michelle Obama (R) and two daughters Malia Obama (L) and Sasha Obama (2R) through Lafayette Park to St John's Church to attend service October 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. Obama is scheduled to travel to Boston this week. (Getty Images)
U.S. President Barack Obama walks with his wife Michelle Obama (R) and two daughters Malia Obama (L) and Sasha Obama (2R) through Lafayette Park to St John's Church to attend service October 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. Obama is scheduled to travel to Boston this week. (Getty Images)

 

The former first lady said that since they could not completely avoid the strangeness which came with their father's job, the former first couple had to make things as normal as they could for their children. "We had to parent by creating this cocoon of normalcy in a pretty crazy, abnormal world. We spent eight years just going, 'It’s okay. You’ll be fine. This is normal. Just go to school'," she said.

"It was very much keeping them in their reality, making sure we went to parent-teacher conferences and we went to their games and we were sitting on the sidelines with them and that they had sleepovers," she said. "And we had kids sleeping over at our house... our house being the White House. My kids were like every other kid — like, 'Why would people want to come here, mom?'' she recalled them saying. "It's the White House, I guarantee you they want to come and watch a movie."

U.S President Barack Obama (L) hugs the first lady Michelle Obama (2nd L) as daughters Malia (C) and Sasha look on after taking the oath of office in the Blue Room of the White House January 20, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Getty Images)
U.S President Barack Obama (L) hugs the first lady Michelle Obama (2nd L) as daughters Malia (C) and Sasha look on after taking the oath of office in the Blue Room of the White House January 20, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Getty Images)

'The Becoming' author, while appearing at a book tour event in St Paul, Minnesota last week, had talked about her daughters' final sleepover party, the night before they were set to move out of the White House. She called the event a "chaos."

"I wasn't sure how these eight little girls were going to get out of that house on time," she said. "Uber? The staff was crying, my girls were crying and all I kept thinking was "I can't be crying right now, people will think I'm crying for different reasons." So, I had to fix my face, but then I was "Like Bye Felicia!"'  

Obama, however, praised her daughters saying they have taught her resilience: "I'm in awe of how normal they turned out."

Malia, who was ten when she moved into the White House, is now a sophomore at Harvard University, while Sasha, who was seven-years-old, is now a senior in high school.