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Michelle Obama reveals what life was really like for her daughters in the White House

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Hollie Richardson
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The Obamas

Former First Lady Michelle Obama has opened up about what her daughters had to endure while growing up in the White House.

Growing up with Michelle and Barack Obama for parents must be pretty cool, right? But living under the world’s watching eye in the White House is almost unimaginable. 

For Malia and Sasha Obama, this was their reality. 

And yet, thanks to the Obamas being cooler than a pair of frozen cucumbers, it seems the two girls still managed to live a relatively normal, grounded lifestyle.

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The former First Lady of America has now opened up about how she helped achieve this with their daughters, and the struggles they faced in trying to maintain “normal” lives.

Speaking with Gayle King at the Essence Festival in New Orleans on Saturday (6 July), Obama said she credited her parenting skills to her own “regular” upbringing before her husband became the President of America. Once they moved into the White House, she made sure her kids knew that the fact their dad was now the president wouldn’t change what was expected of them.

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“Our focus was to make sure they did what they needed to do, and that meant pretend like all the craziness around them wasn’t happening,” she explained, according to Entertainment Tonight Online

“For eight years we were like, ‘Yup, your dad’s president. That doesn’t have anything to do with you. Take your butt to school. Yes, you have security, just ignore them, they’re not here for you. Your goal is to go to school, come back, get some decent grades. Don’t act up. Don’t embarrass us.’”

Sasha and Malia Obama at the White House with their dad Barack Obama.
Sasha and Malia Obama at the White House with their dad Barack Obama.

She then gave a couple of  surprising examples of what the two girls had to overcome to try and fit in.

“Imagine trying to have your first kiss [around] a bunch of men [with guns] and ear pieces,” she said.

“Imagine having Malia and Sasha come to your house for a sleepover.  This is the call: ‘OK, we’re gonna need your social security number, we’re gonna need your date of birth. There will be men coming to sweep your house. If you have guns and drugs, just tell them. Because they’re going to find them anyway. Don’t lie. They’re not gonna take ‘em, they just need to know where they are. And by the way, there will be a man with a gun sitting on the front porch all night. Let him come in and use the bathroom, it would just be nice.’

“I mean, I’m surprised my kids have any friends, you know?” 

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But despite what must have been a frustrating - albeit, very privileged - upbringing, Obama’s daughters got through their school years and are now studying at college. 

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…

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