The Truth About Michelle Obama's Relationship With Her Daughters Sasha And Malia

Sasha and Malia Obama grew up before our very eyes during their eight years in the White House as the first daughters. It's hard to forget the images of these small girls celebrating their father's historic 2008 victory and four years later as young teens on their phones when Barack Obama was inaugurated as president of the United states for the second time. Through it all, Michelle Obama has been a rock by her daughters' sides, trying to make sure they had normal lives while coming of age in a fish bowl with the world watching.

While their childhood was definitely unusual and Michelle did her best to shield them from some of the pitfalls of fame, in 2020, Michelle, Sasha, and Malia got to experience what the rest of the world did due to the coronavirus pandemic — togetherness. And that togetherness became a gift for Michelle and her two young adult daughters.

Michelle Obama and her daughters go from normal life to worldwide fame

Malia and Sasha Obama were both born in Chicago, Illinois, while their father, Barack Obama was an Illinois state senator and law professor, and their mother, Michelle Obama, was an associate dean at the University of Chicago. They started their lives in a middle-class neighborhood where they stayed even when their father was elected to the United States Senate in 2005. Malia was 6 years old at the time and Sasha was only 3, and Michelle maintained their busy little-girl schedule of soccer, swimming, flute lesson for Malia (via Biography), as well as dance, piano, and gymnastics for Sasha (via Biography).

Michelle never thought her husband's bid to become president would change any of that for one good reason — she didn't think Obama would ever go the distance and make it all the way to The White House. "I supported him in campaigning, but I also felt certain he wouldn't make it all the way," Michelle wrote in her 2018 memoir "Becoming" (via Vox). "Barack was a Black man in America, after all. I didn't really think he could win."

But Obama surprised the world when he won and his life, as well as the life of his wife and daughters, would be changed forever.

Michelle Obama tries to give Sasha and Malia normalcy while in the White House

Michelle Obama and her daughters had been away from The White House for nearly four years when the former first lady used "The Michelle Obama Podcast" to reflect on how she tried to give Sasha and Malia as normal a life as possible while they were two of the most famous girls in the world.

"One of the things that I had to learn how to negotiate was creating these boundaries with my kids in the White House," Michelle said (via Elle). "I mean, you talk about being raised in a totally different world than I ever knew? It's like, pluckin' these little girls out of our normal life on the South Side of Chicago ... [and] putting them in a historic mansion with butlers and maids, and florists, and gardeners, and Secret Service, and then trying to make sure that they understood boundaries, understood responsibility."

Making sure her daughters had regular family time was also a priority for Michelle, because she didn't want them resenting the American presidency and what their father was doing for the world.

"Even as Barack being the president of the United States, he worked his schedule around their schedule," she said. "They weren't waiting until 9 o'clock at night to eat because dad was running late. They never couldn't not go somewhere or do something because of dad. I never wanted them to resent the presidency, or resent what their dad did" (via Elle).

Michelle, Sasha, and Malia Obama grow closer as the world shuts down

In 2017, Malia Obama moved away from her parents, as teens often do, to move into a college dorm at Harvard University (via Town & Country). In 2019, Sasha Obama followed her big sister, enrolling at the University of Michigan (via The Detroit News). Then, in 2020, everything was upended and like millions of college students across the country, the Obama girls were back with their parents.

During the pandemic, the Obamas split their time between their Washington D.C. home and their Martha's Vineyard home, according to People. In March of 2021, Michelle opened up about their year of COVID living. "Our girls were supposed to have emptied out of my nest," she said, echoing the sentiments of parents everywhere. "I was sort of celebrating that they were out building their lives and allowing me the emotional space to let them go. Well, they're back!"

When the girls returned, they were young women and Michelle got to enjoy them in an entirely different way. "There's something about witnessing your children become adults and developing a different relationship with them," Michelle told People. "They didn't come back into the house into the same set of rules, because I didn't want them to miss out on independence. They came back as young women and our conversations are more peer-oriented than they are mother-to-daughter."