How Michelle Obama Made Me a Bad Mother

The first lady’s all about work-life balance. But for one working mother/journalist, being part of the East Wing press corps meant that her personal work-life balance got thrown out of whack.


I want to call this story: How Michelle Obama Made Me a Bad Mother.

But that wouldn't be fair to Mrs. Obama, whom I temporarily covered from behind the velvet ropes of the press corps during the early days of the new administration.

With my apologies to Mrs. Obama for my title, I think I will tell the story any way.

It begins on a cold day in February.

I had promised that I would pick up the kid after school on time at school aftercare, but like many of my promises as a mother after this assignment, they were weak. Promises often sprinkled with "but" and "if," as in, if I can finish my work, if there are no events today, if I can fly across town. Impossible promises.

As a journalist, I had no set hours and so I worked all the time--morning, noon, middle of the night, weekends. All. Of. The. Time.

When I promise I will pick the kid up on time, he looked at me as if he didn't trust me. His confidence is wavering.

But then I tell him, "Call me. If I can't make it, you will just have to walk."

The morning of that promise melted into afternoon.

The call came on time. (The kid, who is a young teen, is the responsible one):