Michelle Obama is a super mum. This isn’t debatable, it’s an irrefutable fact. Motherhood is only one role that she fills, but arguably it is the most important. Having followed her family and parenting styles for years, I’m not only impressed, it’s a parenting style that I can very much relate to. Here are five ways Michelle Obama and I parent alike.
1. Perfect practice makes perfect
Children everyday are practicing being the adults that they will become. Michelle Obama said, “We have to raise our children to be the adults that we want them to be, and that starts young”. That means allowing our kids to sleep until midday and miraculously expecting them to rise early for a summer job is ridiculous. Habits gained are habits practiced.
2. Coddling our kids is a mistake
Our kids are precious. Yes, they are LIKE fine china, but they’re not THAT special. Mrs. Obama often says, “sometimes we treat our children too preciously because of the issues they’ve dealt with.” Enabling our kids’ inappropriate behaviour under the guise of them being too young to know better doesn’t help our kids in any way. Also, making them victims of their circumstances also further handicaps them.
3. They can help themselves
If we constantly coddle and enable, we may also be tempted to become their de facto servants. Hearing Mrs. Obama say that her daughters had chores in the White House was a thrill for me. I’m a solid believer in my children learning basic tasks and being able to fend for themselves. Hence my housekeeper doesn’t clean their room. And my boys do their own laundry.
4. Allow kids to be kids
In the daily hustle and bustle of our lives, our kids get caught up. We often force them to grow up too quickly so that they can fall in line with our lifestyles. Michelle Obama did her very best to give her daughters a sense of normalcy in their fish bowl existence of living in the White House. Allowing our kids to experience routine childhood activities like playing in the park, attending summer camps and going to the movies with friends are just some of the idyllic activities that allow our children the opportunity of growing up in stages. I share these same beliefs. The reality of life is harsh, but children shouldn’t have to face it prematurely.
5. Kids must be held accountable
Good parenting involves calling a spade a spade. A parent who consistently makes excuses for their child’s bad behaviour, will one day pay a lawyer to do the same. In many interviews Michelle Obama has mentioned how she “checks” her girls. That there are consequences for their actions and being first daughters doesn’t make them immune. One of the best things we can do for our children is hold them accountable. If we don’t, life will. As a boy mum, one of my priorities is ensuring that my sons understand that they are responsible for their actions.
It is not very often that we can look to celebrities as parenting role models. It’s even more rare when we can see similarities in our parenting styles and theirs. While Mrs. Obama and I don’t inhabit the same social circles, we definitely parent alike. Having anything in common with Mrs. Obama is an honour. Parenting like her is priceless.