An interview with Michelle Obama will be published in November, which is summarised here.
First lady Michelle Obama says women should do what makes them happy, a lesson she says she learned after realizing her two children, her husband and her physical health feed off of her good moods.
In an interview appearing in the November issue of Prevention magazine, Mrs. Obama discusses the meaning of good health, aging and her exercise, diet and beauty routines. Mrs. Obama says she learned "what not to do" from her mother, Marian Robinson, who now lives at the White House.
"She'd say being a good mother isn't all about sacrificing. It's really investing and putting yourself higher on your priority list," Mrs. Obama said. She said Robinson put her own two children first, sometimes to the detriment of herself.
"She encouraged me not to do that," Mrs. Obama said.
The first lady said there are many facets to good health - physical, internal, emotional, diet - and all are intertwined.
"Throughout my life, I've learned to make choices that make me happy and make sense for me. Even my husband is happier when I'm happy," Mrs. Obama said in her first interview with the women's health monthly. "So I have freed myself to put me on the priority list and say, yes, I can make choices that make me happy, and it will ripple and benefit my kids, my husband and my physical health."
"That's hard for women to own. We're not taught to do that," she added. "It's a lesson that I want to teach my girls."
I think people love to make themselves out as heroic martyrs or slaves to integrity. The classic question in a job interview ("What is your biggest defect?" or "What would you change about yourself if you could?") is supposed to be answered: "I'd try to relax and not take my work so seriously," or "I'd stop being such a perfectionist." In that way, you play to the charade of naming a defect which is actually the very characteristic that the employer wants.
Here we have the Mommy Twist: "I'm so prone to oblate myself for others that I'm going to heroically sacrifice this desire and go to a spa." In that way, indulgence becomes virtue.
Any culture that successfully peddles magazines called Allure, Self, Glamour, Ms, O, and Lucky doesn't seem to have any esteem problems. Add to that all the self-help columns, sex advice, and beauty items (cashing in $billion$ monthly) and we seem to detect a society that is already all about "happy!"
Perhaps a better message would be to indicate that those who've been blinded by "It's all about me!" life-styles are chasing waterfalls and not terribly happy in the end. There's something to be said for authentic love which places God and others in the queue ahead of facials and retail therapy. And oddly enough, when God is first, sometimes He indulges us in unforseen ways.