Not long ago (though, it feels like centuries), we had a first family in the White House whose biggest headlines were about getting a puppy, two little girls growing into young women before our eyes, and the total dad look President Obama rocked with his cell phone fashionably clipped to his belt. They were a family that, despite having differing political opinions, everyone could agree were doing it right.
Part of the reason they seemed to be doing it right was because Barack and Michelle were truly partners in parenting, and they prioritized their girls above all else. Their parenting style continues to inspire moms and dads today because many of the rules they stuck to are still relevant today.
10 Take The High Road
One of Michelle and Barack's biggest parenting rules was to always take the high road. Their two girls were raised in front of a nation, and with that comes the knowledge that their family would make some headlines - for better or worse. Michelle spoke about this rule in 2016, and said that she and Barack made a pointed effort to teach their girls that if someone is "acting cruel or like a bully, you don't stoop to their level". As the girls have grown up, they've taken that lesson to heart and continue to take the high road despite a lot of opportunities to react differently.
9 Put The Kids First
It's difficult enough for regular working parents to keep their priorities straight when it comes to their family, so the leader of the United States probably had to have daily reminders of what is most important. So, Barack and Michelle came up with a plan that would allow their girls the childhood they both deserved and provide US citizens the president and first lady they deserved. The two of them came up with a part-time work schedule for Michelle so that she would be available to her daughters. To them, the bottom line was always "family first".
8 Clean Up After Yourself
Imagine being a little kid and getting to move into a mansion complete with maids, butlers, chefs, and basically anything else at your disposal. Life. Would. Be. Good. Well, unless you're Barack and Michelle's kids. When the first family moved into the White House, POTUS and FLOTUS had a chat with the staff about "boundaries" because they wanted their girls to make their beds and clean up after themselves like any other kid. Sasha and Malia may be glad about it now, but something tells us that was one of the more unpopular parenting rules.
7 Limits On Tech
Raising kids today means having to raise them with technology in mind. It's a difficult thing for any parent to navigate - including the Obamas. Still, Barack and Michelle sat down as partners and agreed to raise the girls to have limits on their technology. In fact, they were really limited. Sasha and Malia weren't allowed to use the computer for entertainment purposes, did not get to watch TV on school nights, and had "strong limits" on how much time they spent on their phones.
6 No Helicopter Parenting
A helicopter parent is one who hovers over their kid. They are always there, watching and waiting to swoop in and rescue their kids from danger. You'd think that Barack and Michelle would want to hover over their kids like crazy given the environment they were growing up in, but the Obamas actually had strict rules about not being "overprotective". They credit this parenting rule for how independent their girls are now as young women. Honestly, it's a lesson every parent could stand to be reminded of now and then.
5 Self-Care Is Essential
There was a time that Michelle Obama was criticized for her (awesome) arms because they were so toned and muscular. People wondered if the first lady was just working out at the White House and not actually parenting or helping her husband with his presidential duties. In reality, Michelle was using her workout schedule as a way to show her daughters that it's okay to take care of yourself and that they should always prioritize their health. Additionally, Michelle always reminded her girls that her own self-care is a way of investing in herself so that she's around for a long time to help guide them through life.
4 Keep A Schedule
Every parent has heard time and time again that kids need schedules to thrive. We've all left parties early to make sure our kids get their naps or declined on plans altogether because it interferes with the bedtime routine. You'd think that Michelle and Barack would have let that routine slide now and then with their demanding schedules, but the parents made a rule to stick to their kids' schedules in the early days in the White House. They made sure their girls were tucked into bed at 8:00 pm no matter what, which is a serious dedication to a schedule if you ask us.
3 Make A Difference
We all know that Obama's platform was about change and hope for tomorrow. He believed that together, we can make the US a better place. That wasn't just a marketing scheme, though. He and Michelle truly raised their girls to strive to make a difference in some way - no matter how big or small. While their dad had the one job that can make a significant difference, he raised his girls to respect and believe in the change they could make by working in a health clinic or inventing something that will make the world a little better.
2 Allow The Kids To Speak
Barack and Michelle have been very open about a parenting rule they stuck to that was passed down to them by Michelle's mom: to let their kids speak. Michelle was raised to speak up and develop a voice for themselves because her mom knew that as she grew up, she'd need to be able to stand her ground and know who she was to her core and she could never do that if the only voice she heard was her mom's. So Barack and Michelle followed suit and encouraged their girls to ask questions, explore, and develop their own beliefs.
1 Enjoy The Family While You Can
Recently, Michelle gave some sweet parenting advice to everyone's favorite American Princess, Meghan Markle. There aren't many people who understand the pressure and spotlight Meghan is under, but Michelle is one of them. The former first lady told the dutchess that despite all of the responsibilities she and Harry have, they need to make time to enjoy their family while they can because (even though it doesn't always feel this way) the babies will be grown and out of the house. This was a rule Michelle and Barack stuck to during their time in the White House, and their family was strong because of it.