I’m not gonna lie. I have a crush on Michelle Obama. So much so, that out of ever female speaker on this planet, the only person who I have seen twice is Michelle. The first time was when I was invited to the White House for a private event for mom bloggers where she appeared as a featured speaker and the second was with my daughter while she was on tour for her new book Becoming.
I just want you to know – if you are deciding whether to buy the book, my advice is to buy it so you have it as a memento but then download it on Audible.com and listen to Michelle narrate her life while you’re walking the dog, driving to pick your kids up from school, riding to work, shopping at the supermarket or riding the subway. It’s 40+ hours of pure inspiration, laughter and a twinge of sadness too.
What I loved most about the book was that it was relatable on so many levels – whether you grew up in a neighborhood much like Michelle’s on Euclid Avenue on the South Side of Chicago where her family experienced racism first hand as neighbors began moving away as a result of “white flight”; to the high school guidance counselor who told her she wasn’t “Princeton material” and she was determined to prove her wrong – earning degrees from Princeton and Harvard Law School. Then there’s her courtship with Barack, who she mentored when he was a summer associate at the law firm where she worked; and her early years raising her two girls while she balanced her career as her husband pursued politics in Chicago and on the national stage.
Michelle Obama truly epitomizes every working mom I know. We grew up with a fire in our bellies determined to succeed but when we became moms, we realized we had to figure out a different path to pursue our passions while being there for our kids when they needed us most. I also loved the fact that she truly found her passion after meeting Barack – he was her “swerve” which led her to let go of the frenetic pace of climbing an unfulfilling corporate ladder so she could do something much more impactful with her life.
Michelle Obama is not only inspiring to my generation, but to my daughter and her friends as well. There was a sea of mother/daughters at the Wells Fargo Center last week and we were all giddy with excitement. In fact, many of us met on the SEPTA train headed to the event and I joked that this was our version of the World Series. When we were standing in line to get into the concert venue, there was a camera crew out front and a woman couldn’t contain her excitement sharing why she was so thrilled to have the chance to hear Michelle Obama speak. It was like an Oprah Winfrey moment…You get car! You get a car! And You Get a Car! The energy surrounding all of us was positively electric.
At the heart of it, we were all aching to be inspired again. Many of us are just tired and shell shocked by the last two years and we are so ready to believe that things will turn around for the better. For my daughter, I was thrilled for her to hear sage words of advice from the former First Lady about the importance of ignoring the naysayers because once you do achieve your dreams or gain acceptance to places that are oftentimes occupied by people with mediocre intelligence at best, you will come to find that you might just be the smartest person in the room and that will feel damn good.
I feel lucky to have been able to share this unforgettable experience with my daughter and cannot wait to see what she achieves in her lifetime. As for me, as I write my next chapter, I’m taking everything Michelle said to heart about what I am becoming. I’m trying my best not to have regrets about the decisions I have made over the years, only planning for the future as I focus on things I love to do while exposing my own kids to opportunities and experiences that will help guide them towards whatever it is they’re supposed to become.
So thanks Michelle. I will forever have a girl crush on you. I do hope to see you again someday. Something tells me if I keep dreaming, doing and becoming, I absolutely will.