Inspiration alert! Michelle Obama on finding her ‘voice’ as a working mum who should be valued
In a recent interview, held at the White House Summit on Working Families, Michelle used the example of her own experience as a working mum to encourage all mums who can to use their own ‘voices’ and demand change in their careers.
She confessed to the ‘tug’ of balancing her career and her family, saying, ‘Work-family balance is fragile. You realise that with a blink of an eye, that balance is thrown off.’
But while she struggled to find that balance, Michelle admitted that difficult experiences gave her the inspiration to seek change. While interviewing for a job at the University of Chicago Hospital, she made a point of asking that her employers accept her needs as working mum.
‘I was a breastfeeding mother of a four month old, and I didn’t have a baby sitter, so I took Sasha with me to the interview,’ she said. ‘And I thought this is who I am, I’ve got a husband who’s away, two little babies, they’re my priority.’
‘I thought if you want me to do the job you got to pay me to do the job and you got to give me flexibility. Flexibility means that I will work my tail off for you but you better pay me and value my family.’
They agreed and Michelle got the job as Vice Chancellor at the hospital, describing her time there as ‘One of the best experiences I had, because they put my family first’.
I will work my tail off for you but you better pay me and value my family
She encouraged all working mums to use their ‘voices’ to demand change in the work environment and labeled it a ‘fight’ for those unable to.
‘I understood the advantage I had, but if I was a teacher or a bus driver, or a nurse, or a shift worker… there’s no room for that kind of negotiation,’ she said.
‘The fight isn’t about me or Barack but every mum and father out there who doesn’t have the leverage to make those demands. We’re fighting for them.’ We like your style, Michelle...
What do you think is the way to get your perfect balance between work and family? Let us know in the comments box below.