First Lady discusses the Let's Move! campaign, her husband and girls, and offers parenting advice...
The August issue of Parenting magazine hits newsstands today, with First Lady Michelle Obama as the cover story. It is the magazine's first-ever "Health and Fitness Issue," and the Let's Move! campaign is spotlighted. The cover image is a photo of the Mom in Chief with an adorable child, though not one of her own. Inside, there are more cute kids borrowed from a local elementary school for photos taken in the paper lantern-bedecked Booksellers area of the White House, which accompany an interview conducted in April with editor Ana Connery. Mrs. Obama discusses how she and President Obama ("Barack") are raising daughters Malia, 14, and Sasha, 11, as well as the Let's Move! campaign. (Above: A photo that accompanies the feature)
Unfortunately, there's more text devoted to Connery's own nervous/thrilled reaction to interviewing the First Lady than there is text devoted to child health initiatives and parenting advice. Mrs. Obama doesn't actually make an appearance in the story until page 9 of the 14-page interview online. Instead, Connery spends loads of time recapping her very first White House visit, which includes details of the "zillion outfits I ordered online" and "a whopping seven pairs of shoes" she took to Washington, DC.
"I can't ignore the fear that I will somehow blow this," Connery wrote. "I will trip on my way toward her [Mrs. Obama]; my bra will show; my shoes will look fab but be so uncomfortable that I'll walk with a limp." She later adds "OMG, I'm walking into the White House! Suddenly, I get extremely emotional thinking about my mom, Maria...Pull yourself together! No smudging the makeup!"
Still, some of Mrs. Obama's message gets across in the interview. She tells Connery that children shouldn't be spending all their time in front of TV and other screens, and says sports are as important for her children as homework and friends.
"It's important to learn how to compete, to develop a skill…[to learn how to lose]…and how to work as a team. I want them to learn how to sweat, how to win gracefully and lose with dignity," Mrs. Obama said.
When asked “What's the number one thing you wish parents did more of today?,” Mrs. Obama offers her now-standard Let's Move! advice: Kids should eat healthy food, and families should try to eat dinner together.
“I think it's the simple things that hold true regardless of income or location: eliminating sugary drinks, cooking a little bit more,” Mrs. Obama said. “It's hard to do. I struggled with it as a working mom myself. But thinking about it once or twice a week even, sitting around a table, getting to know our kids more, is a good thing.”
Home cooking and family dinners...
Mrs. Obama once announced during a Let's Move! speech that her mother, Marian Robinson, could not even cook broccoli. She also said in a 2011 cover-story interview with Better Homes and Gardens that she and brother Craig Robinson used to throw their lima beans on the floor rather than eat them. But for Parenting she describes her mother's cooking as the basis for her own approach to feeding her family. (Above: Mrs. Obama holds a glass of milk in this photo)
“She cooked almost every night, and she sort of followed the traditional plan of having a meat, a starch, and a vegetable,” Mrs. Obama said.
“We couldn't afford to go out, so we had fast food maybe once a week. We used to get pizza on report-card day as a reward, and that was like once a quarter! There were things that I don't think they were intentionally doing [like sitting around the dinner table], but looking back, it's where we're trying to get parents and families today.”
The story closes with Connery describing her request for an autograph from the First Lady as the interview ended: "Our time is up, so I do what any modern woman would if given the chance: I ask her to sign my shoe," Connery wrote. "Under my seat is a pair of red, white, and blue pumps I’ve had forever that were just so darn perfect for a visit to the White House, I had to bring them along with me, even if they weren’t on my feet." (Above: This photo of Mrs. Obama with Connery is included with the online version of the story)
Turns out Mrs. Obama has had the request before, and she graciously signed Connery's shoe.
*Photos by Lee Clower for Parenting