First lady Michelle Obama greets children in the East Room of the White House in Washington in celebration of the …What's it like to live in the White House? What would you change about being the first lady? Do you really like gardening? The Obama Administration marked Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day by inviting about 200 children to the White House for a morning filled with activities. The event was capped by a special session with Michelle Obama in the East Room, where the elementary-school aged kids peppered her with questions.
The kids -- all of whose parents are employees of the Executive Office of the President -- started the day by taking the same Oath of Office that their parents' did when they started working with the White House. Then they toured the building, and took turns meeting with members of the Secret Service, the Council on Environmental Quality, and even official White House pastry chefs.
But one of the biggest highlights came at the end of their visit, when they trooped into the famous East Room to chat with the first lady.
"One of the things we want you to know is that we know that it's not easy to have parents who are doing busy, important work," she told the crowd of children. "But because of the work that they do, the country runs and things get done, and millions of people get help. And because you guys handle your business -- you're doing well in school, and you're staying out of trouble, and you're listening and you're helping out at home when things are busy -- you're helping your parents serve, too, and your grandparents."
"So you guys are helping this country in very important ways," she continued. "And I don't want you to ever take that for granted. So we are grateful to you all for what you do to support your parents."
The kids had plenty of questions for Mrs. Obama. Yahoo! Shine was there, and we listened in on the conversation. Here are a few of our favorite parts:
Will you ever run for President?
Absolutely not. No. Being President is a really hard job and it's an important job. And when my husband is running for President, we're right in there; we're serving, too. And I think that once his terms are over, we'll go on to do other important things -- because there are so many ways that you can help this country and the world, even if you're not President of the United States.
Is it [being first lady] a hard job?
It's very busy. I have a lot to do, but I couldn't call it hard, because I'm doing the things that I really love. I get to spend this time with you all, number one…. And I'm working on helping kids eat healthy and be more active and working with military kids. And I got to be on "iCarly." And so it would be hard for me to call this job hard.
What do you like to do on your birthday?
What do I like to do on my birthday? I like to sleep late. (Laughter.) That's the first thing. So I try to make sure no one wakes me up until I'm ready to wake up. And then I like to have a day where I can do exactly what I want to do, eat what I want to eat. So I get to pick my meals. … I like to spend time with my family and just kind of relax and do a lot of nothing. I know that's hard for kids to understand, but when you get old like us old people, doing nothing is a really big gift -- right, parents?
If you could change anything about the First Lady job, what would you do or what would you change?
I don't know that I'd change anything about it. Sometimes, when the First -- and it's not just the First Lady but the President -- but sometimes we can't sneak out often on our own without security and motorcades and people with us, right? It's hard to sneak around and do what you want. I've done it a couple of times. But you know, one fantasy I have -- and the Secret Service, they keep looking at me because they think I might actually do it -- is to walk right out the front door and just ... go right over there and go into some shops, and stop and have some ice cream and -- yeah, go shopping.
What is your favorite part of being First Lady?
My favorite part of being First Lady is spending time with kids. You guys are funny, let me tell you. I've had some of the best questions, some of the funniest questions come from kids. And kids are just, they're real -- you guys are real honest. … you guys are open and you're curious and you're still trying to figure things out. So it's a lot of fun to spend time [with you]. And that's when I do all my playing. You see me jumping rope, and I'm going to play with some kids when I leave here. We're going to do some hula-hooping. So you guys are fun.
Are you as big of a White Sox fan as your husband? And did you congratulate Philip Humber after he threw the perfect game?
Oh, gosh. (Laughter.) Okay, the -- no, I'm not as big a fan because I grew up a Cubs fan. We're a mixed marriage. And people always wonder, well, why are you a Cubs fan, because we live on the South Side. But I tell them, my dad was a Cubs fan from the time I was little. And that's one thing that he and I did -- when I would come home from school, the Cubs would be playing; they'd usually be just in the third inning by the time I got home from school at 3:30 p.m., and José Cardenal would be third man up to bat, and we'd sit and we'd watch the game. So there's sort of a sentimental connection that I have with the Cubs because of my dad.
And no, I didn't call the guy who pitched the game. No, I didn't. I saw that on SportsCenter but I usually stay out of the sports stuff. I leave that to my husband.
How hard was it to be a lawyer when you were a little girl?
When I was a little girl, I thought I wanted to be a pediatrician. And I just picked that like kids pick -- like right now, when people tell you what you want to be, you have an answer, right? Sometimes you do. But I had an answer. But it really wasn't an answer because I was too young to know what I wanted to do.
Would you ever want to move back to your old life?
My old life? I don't know if that's possible. (Laughter.) We still have our house in Chicago, and it's there, and we go back and visit. But who knows what -- I don't know what the future holds. So one of the things I've learned growing up and being a grown-up is that you always look forward -- you look to where you're going to go, as opposed to looking back. So we're going to see how -- what the future has for us.
The Q&A ended with Mrs. Obama welcoming a newly minted 8-year-old girl up on stage with her; she gave the child a hug and then the entire room broke into a round of "Happy Birthday to You" -- reporters and camera crews included.
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Also on Shine:
Michelle Obama on the things that matter most to moms