Michelle Obama is used to multi-tasking. For years, she has juggled the roles of wife, mother, public servant and mentor.
This month, she takes on another — that of First Lady — following her husband Barack Obama's inauguration as the 44th president of the United States of America and the couple's move into the White House with daughters Malia, 10, and Sasha, seven.
In this exclusive interview, conducted during the election campaign with US Good Housekeeping magazine's editor-in-chief Rosemary Ellis, Michelle Obama discusses the matters closest to her heart.
So, when your husband told you that he wanted to run for president, how did you feel about that? What was your first reaction?
My first reaction was, "Don't — please don't". Quite frankly, with every political run that Barack made, my instinct was to talk him out of it. I didn't see the value in politics. I was probably cynical — like a lot of Americans — that you really can't make change through the political process. So I spent a huge chunk of our marriage trying to convince him to do something more sensible to change the world, like be a school principal or write books.
But each and every time I confronted that doubt in my own mind, I started thinking beyond myself because the initial reaction is always how I would feel.
It's always the selfish "This is going to be hard on me, it's going to be hard on my girls". But then I start thinking beyond me. I always joke that I took off my "me" hat and put on my "us" hat. Then I started thinking about the type of person I want to see in politics. And that always turned out to be a guy like Barack. I thought, how can I stand in the way of something that could help so many people? I have had advantages. I've been blessed. I've been lucky to come from a middle-class background and be able to go to some of the best schools in the country. So let's give it a go. And if we can do something good, then the sacrifice is nothing in comparison."