Michelle Obama's New Mission
Talking to the Girls
SL: Do you limit your girls' screen time?
MO: We do. My girls can't watch TV during the school week. And generally they have limited time over the weekend. During the school week they can only use the computer if it's for schoolwork.
SL: How do you talk to your daughters about nutrition? In what way are you a role model for them? From my research for this interview I got the distinct impression you like pie.
MO: Right, right. And French fries! One of the reasons I talk about pie and burgers is because if you tell people they can never have the stuff they love, they'll shut down. What is life without the things you love to eat? For me it's pie. So what I tell my girls is, "treats are special." They're not something you have every day. When we were growing up we never had dessert every night. You didn't have a snack when you wanted one -- probably because the economy was so tough. A bag of potato chips had to last for a week. Those limitations, and the fact that families cooked more at home, created the balance that now is being lost because times have changed and people are busier. Telling a busy mother she's got to prepare a home-cooked meal every night is gonna shut her down. I couldn't do it.
SL: So what kind of strategies can you offer parents who can't make regular family dinners?
MO: Some of it is changing priorities and making the time [to sit down together]. It may not be every night. When we were younger, Sunday was one of those nights we sat around the dinner table together. . . . If you think in terms of that being important, then people will find more time.