Michelle Obama is a Single Mom Like Me! Oh Wait - No, She’s Not.
The First Lady of the United States was being interviewed by CBS News recently, when she accidentally referred to herself as a single mother - which is interesting because last I checked, she was actively married to the President of the United States.
Mrs. Obama was in the middle of talking about urban neighborhoods needing access to healthier food choices saying, “We’ve been looking at new models of getting Farmer’s Markets to, ya know, create buses and drive-ins with communities that are underserved, so we have to deal with a question of access. And believe me, as a busy, single mother…or I shouldn’t say single…As a busy mother. Sometimes when you’ve got the husband whose president it can feel a little single, but he’s there. But as a busy workin’ mom, before coming to the White House, I was in that position as well, working, driving the kids to practice, not having enough time to shop or cook.”
When I first read that Mrs. Obama referred to herself as a single mom, I paused for a moment and went looking for the actual clip to see what all the fuss was about. My first reaction was to laugh and then to think, “Huh, I wonder what the President has to say about that little, perhaps Freudian, slip.” And it did remind me of the many times married mothers deliberately draw parallels between myself (a single mom) and themselves (married moms).
You know, the light touch on the forearm and the whisper of, “Well, my husband doesn’t do very much…so I know how you feel.” Or, knee-slapping laughter, “I mean I mind as well be a single mom, my husband is never around! (laughter, laughter, laughter).”
Yea…that’s really not so funny. Having a husband that works a lot or isn’t as engaged as you would like, really isn’t the same as actually being a single mother who is raising a child or children without the emotional, logistical, or financial support of another adult. Another parent who is as invested in the kids’ success as you are. Plus, they don’t have to field questions like, “Where’s my Daddy?”
Listen, I am in no way pretending that I have any idea what is like to maintain a healthy, stable and romantic relationship while caring for a family. I am sure there are bumps in the road and tough times and I recognize how difficult they can be. And, I really appreciate the attempt to relate to what my day-to-day is like, but drawing unrealistic parallels is sort of insulting, not only to me, but to the husband that is in the picture.
So I thank you Mrs. Obama for correcting yourself and clarifying that, “when you’ve got the husband whose president it can feel a little single, but he’s there.” Even if he is very busy running the United States of America, I am relieved to see you recognize his involvement and the great things it can mean for you and your girls.