At the first White House Working Families Summit on Monday, President Obama spoke about how he plans to improve the experience of U.S. working parents -- tackling policies like paid family leave and affordable child care. As part of the day's events, the first lady spoke to Robin Roberts about why these changes are so important, referring to her own experiences as a working mom.
The first time she struggled with work-life balance, Mrs. Obama said, was when Sasha was just 4 months old. Their babysitter quit at what seemed like the worst possible moment.
"[It] was probably the worst time of my motherhood. I was so devastated because that balance, that work-family balance is so fragile, and you realize how fragile it is that with a blink of an eye of a broken toilet, a sick child, a sick parent, that that balance is thrown off," she told Roberts.
She felt defeated and was going to quit working altogether, but then got a call from the University of Chicago Hospital about a job opportunity. So FLOTUS did what a new mom without child care has to do -- she brought Sasha to the interview with her.
Who I was at the time was a breastfeeding mother of a 4-month-old -- and I didn’t have a babysitter, so I promptly took Sasha to the interview with me. And I thought, look, this is who I am. I've got a husband who’s away. I've got two little babies. They are my priority. If you want me to do the job, you’ve got to pay me to do the job and you’ve got to give me flexibility, and flexibility means that I will work my tail off for you, but you better pay me and value my family.
The First Lady admits that, these days, life as working parents is easier for her and the President -- they live in the White House now, she pointed out, with whatever resources they might need. Plus, Grandma lives upstairs.
"The fight isn't about us. It's about every mother and father out there who doesn’t have the leverage to make those demands... And it is not lost on either me or Barack how tough it is, which is why we all have to be in this fight. This is something that we're doing for each other," Obama said.
To view the First Lady's entire interview with Robin Roberts, watch the video above.