Our 7 Favorite Parts of Oprah's Interview with First Lady Michelle Obama
Oprah's interview with First Lady Michelle Obama was a highlight of the United State of Women summit, and we've watched it multiple times over since. If you don't have time for the full 45 minutes - and we do recommend making time, even if it's on in the background! - then check out our highlights below.
On knowing who you are:
Our first job in life as women, I think, is to get to know ourselves. And I think a lot of times we don’t do that. We spend our time pleasing, satisfying, looking out into the world to define who we are -- listening to the messages, the images, the limited definitions that people have of who we are.
On time management:
One of the things I realized is that if you do not take control over your time and your life, other people will gobble it up. If you don’t prioritize yourself, you constantly start falling lower and lower on your list, your kids fall lower and lower on your list.
On dealing with haters:
Well, when it comes to social media -- there are just times I turn off the world, you know. There are just some times you have to give yourself space to be quiet, which means you’ve got to set those phones down. You can’t be reading all that stuff. I mean, that’s like letting somebody just walk up and slap you, you know? (Laughter.) You would never do that. You would never just sit there and go, slap me in the face and I’m good with it. No. So why would you open yourself up to that?
On what men can do to further the cause:
Be better. Be better at everything. Be better fathers... Men can be better husbands, which is -- be a part of your family’s life. Do the dishes. Don’t babysit your children. You don’t babysit your own children. Be engaged. Don’t just think going to work and coming home makes you a man. Being a father, being engaged, all that stuff is important. Be a better employer. When you are sitting at a seat of power at a table of any kind and you look around you just see you, it’s just you and a bunch of men around a table, on a golf course, making deals, and you allow that to happen, and you’re okay with that -- be better.
On "having it all:"
It’s just a matter of managing expectations. So for me, for example, you know, when your husband is President of the United States and you have children, something has got to give. I’ve made compromises in my life and my career, but I’ve also, in exchange, gained a wonderful platform to do some great work... It’s hard to have it all. And if you’re compromising through one phase of your journey, you’re not giving it all up, you’re compromising for that phase... So, no, I don’t want young women out there to have the expectation that if they’re not having it all that somehow they’re failing. Life is hard. But life is long if you maintain your health, which is one of the reasons why we talk about health, talk about taking care of yourself. Because you want to get to the next phases in life where you can do more of what you want to do at any given time.
On the work that's still to be done:
We can never be complacent and think that we’ve arrived now as women. Because I hear this from young women. Some of you young women who aren’t feeling the pains that many of our predecessors have felt -- you think, well, there aren’t any problems, women’s rights, we’ve got this all figured out, I’m already equal, I’m good -- I’m just like, oh, just you wait, you’ll feel it. So the work continues.
On what to take away from the United State of Women:
So my hope is that people leave here inspired and ready to do something. Again, remember, it’s not what people say about you, it’s what you do. So the question is what are you going to do? How are you going to be better? What are you going to change in your office, in your life, in your relationships? What are you going to change in your family dynamic? And how are you going to empower yourself with the knowledge that you need to know what work needs to be done?
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