Michelle Obama Blames Her Relationship Challenges On Her Young Daughters
By Milo Santamaria | January 2023
I was a child in the early 2000s, which means I grew up during the Obama administration. I was
eight, almost nine, years old when former president Obama was inaugurated for his first term.
And I’m old enough now to understand how his administration has negatively impacted many
marginalized communities, but as a child, my friends and I were taught to look up to him. Which
is why I think the First Lady’s comments made such an impact on me.
“There were 10 years when I couldn’t stand my husband, and guess when it happened, when
those kids were little…,” The First Lady tells her interviewers. “Little kids, they’re terrorists. They
have demands, they don’t talk, they’re poor communicators, they cry all the time, they're
irrational, they’re selfish, they’re needy…You can’t blame them, they’re cute…so you turn that
ire on each other.”
Now in some ways, I understand where she’s coming from. Parenting is a huge responsibility
that often falls on mothers. Black mothers in particular also face much more scrutiny than white or non-black mothers for their parenting.
Feminists such as Silvia Federici have coined the term social reproductive labor, which is the
work needed to sustain capitalism outside of the workplace. This includes domestic labor,
raising children, and caring for working spouses. This gendered division of labor works to
expand capitalism outside of the workplace and into the home.
However, it is never okay to make such sweeping generalizations about an entire group of
people, especially with the kind of platform Michelle Obama has as a former First Lady. And if a
Harvard-educated woman living in a mansion paid for by the government is struggling to raise her kids, what does that say about the rest of us?
Many complain that Millenials are not having children or buying homes when this is a sign that
most Americans are financially struggling and can barely afford to sustain themselves, let alone
Under capitalism, anyone who cannot work or earn money is often seen as a financial burden,
which often lessens people’s empathy and care for children and vulnerable communities.
Many blame working-class and marginalized parents for having children, but that same criticism
is never turned toward the systems and politicians that create poverty and labor exploitation;
The conditions that lead to childhood poverty, neglect, and trauma.
I believe that children are just as important to anti-capitalist movements as any marginalized
group. For example, the recent UC graduate worker strike where student workers were fighting
for affordable childcare and housing. I was living on campus at UCSC when the student workers
marched with their strollers and young children.
Parents are overworked both in the workplace and at home, and this impacts the relationships
they have with their partners and children. If more of our needs were met by our communities,
and social safety nets, parents would have more time to focus on their children and their
relationships with partners or friends, reducing stress and resentment in families.