Share This

Oh, It’s Tuesday: Great Expectations

I was reading a really interesting piece in Jezebel the other day about how if we’ve pinned a lot of (perhaps impossible) hopes and dream on President Elect Obama, then we’ve become even more irrational about Michelle Obama. In a few words, we expect her to be nothing less than perfect.

That means she needs to be fashionable, every hair needs to be in place, she has to answer every question intelligently in interviews, she can’t raise her voice (even to Sasha an Malia), she has to stay in shape, she can’t lose her temper like ever, crying for reasons other than extreme happiness is a no-no, she has to give terrific speeches,  she must appear as if she adores her husband,  she must put her children first before anything else, and she has to give up her high-powered executive career, even though she holds a graduate degree.

Now, I think that many women find the career thing to be the most egregious on this list. But having just given up a really nice job myself, I will say this: one of the most difficult things about the American workforce is that “success” often means longer hours and, in my opinion, unreasonable job demands that do not lend well to family life.

I doubt that as a well-paid executive Michelle was able to spend as much time with Sasha and Malia as she would’ve liked. And I feel a little sad that President Elect Obama will probably miss many of his children’s best moments because of his job demands.

No, the career thing is the least of my worries on my list. Though, if she, like (the wife of the former prime minister Tony) Cherie Blair, advocated for better parental leave laws, I would be thrilled.

Getting back to my original point, though, looking at this impossible list of First Lady “musts,” I can’t think of a single woman who fits this description, and I know a ton of wonderful women. So if and when Michelle messes up, before going after her, we should perhaps go back to this list and asks ourselves if we ourselves could ever pull if off perfectly. If the answer is no, then cut her some slack. If the answer is yes, then by all means go ahead. Throw the first stone.