The former First Lady opened up about her ambitions for daughters Malia, 24, and Sasha, 21, on the Tamron Hall Show on Monday, saying that “happiness looks like a lot of different things”.
“Too many young people are rushing to check the box of marriage before they even know who they are, and then they're surprised when they pick the wrong person, or they don't know how to struggle through hard times,” she said.
”I want my girls to spend some time with themselves to develop some skills to understand that they can make it with or without, that they can build their happiness with all the bells and whistles and they can be happy if they choose to only focus on their career, to never have kids. I want to make their worlds bigger for them.”
The 58-year-old encouraged young people to “break that cycle of those subtle expectations” that position marriage as the ultimate goal upon reaching adulthood.
“Happiness looks like a lot of different things,“ she continued. “If we have chosen some alternative path, maybe getting married, maybe not, maybe never having kids, maybe focusing on careers, we feel somehow guilty about all those choices.”
The mother-of-two wed former President of the United States Barack Obama in 1992 when they were 28 and 31 years old, respectively.
Speaking frankly on her 2020 podcast about the challenges of marriage and relationships, she revealed that there have been times when she wanted to “push Barack out of the window”.
“You’ve got to know that there are going to be times, long periods of time, when you can’t stand each other … I said it, you know, on the book tour, as a joke,” she said, in conversation with late-night host Conan O’Brien.
“There were times that I wanted to push Barack out of the window, right. And I say that, because it’s like you’ve got to know the feelings will be intense. But that doesn’t mean you quit. And these periods can last a long time. They can last years.”
The couple, who met in 1989, celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary in October.
The former president shared a series of photos on Instagram and the caption: “Miche, After 30 years, I’m not sure why you look exactly the same and I don’t. I do know that I won the lottery that day - that I couldn’t have asked for a better life partner. Happy anniversary, sweetheart!”
Obama also marked the milestone on Twitter, writing: “Happy anniversary to the man I love! These last 30 years have been an adventure, and I’m grateful to have you by my side. Here’s to a lifetime together. I love you, @BarackObama!”