3 Pieces Of Advice Michelle Obama Gives Her Daughters

3 Pieces Of Advice Michelle Obama Gives Her Daughters

Former first lady Michelle Obama is a woman after our own hearts. At the United States of Women Summit this weekend, Obama sat down with her friend, Golden Globe-winning actress Tracee Ellis Ross, for a chat touching on everything from gender parity to why she’s hopeful for the future to motherhood.

Early in the conversation, Ross asked Obama to reflect on her upbringing and the lessons her parents, especially her mother, imparted on her. “I emulate [my mother] in the relationship I have with my girls,” Obama said. “I want them to talk to me about everything. So that means I got to be open, and I can’t be judgmental.” And that takes some practice, Obama joked. Like, for instance, achieving a “mom face” that’s just right and not too shocked. “It’s like, ‘Oh, did that happen? Tell me more,’” she said playfully. “You just try not to react, so you get the good information. You’re just sitting there, just like, ‘You did what?’ Okay, fix the face.”

Here are three lessons she’s taught her daughters:

Life is practice for who you want to be

“I tell my girls this every day: ‘You are practicing who you’re going to be.’ So, if you getting up late, and you trifling and you’re not getting your homework done, that’s what you’re practicing. If you’re a whiner, you’re practicing being a whiner. If you’re spoiled, you’re practicing that. That, that doesn’t just go away. And so, you have to start practicing who you want to be. You want to be dependable? Then you have to be dependable. If you want people to trust you, then you have to be trustworthy. And you have to start those habits very early.”

Take up space and use your voice

“The mother that I am today is a direct result of Marian Robinson. You know, my mom is one of the smartest people with just plain ol’ common sense. And the thing she always said that I do remember is, she told me and my brother, she says, ‘I wasn’t raising children, I was raising adults.’ So … she practiced treating us in the way she wanted us to be. So again, she always talked to us like we had sense. She never used baby talk. She would ask you to explain yourself. She would include you in big, grown-up conversations. There was never anything that she wouldn’t talk to us about.”

“I try to be open with my girls. And you know, also help them practice their voice.”

Seek out older, wiser people for advice

“I try to tell Sasha and Malia, do not go to other 14-year-olds for information, ‘cause all you all are dumb. Come talk to me.”

“You know, don’t be sitting around in your little crew, figuring out life. … Don’t ask Olivia what she thinks about sex. She doesn’t know!”

Watch the full conversation below: