In Illinois, the Obamas Struggled with Work/Life Issues.

The New York Times Sunday Magazine recently profiled Barack and Michelle Obama’s marriage as one which is re-defining the high-profile political marriage. At the same time, the piece depicted their pre-presidential campaign relationship as one where the dual-career household went through difficulties when Michelle Obama resented her husband placing all the child care responsibilities onto her shoulders.


“Since he first began running for office in 1995, Barack and Michelle Obama have never really stopped struggling over how to combine politics and marriage: how to navigate the long absences, lack of privacy, ossified gender roles and generally stultifying rules that result when public opinion comes to bear on private relationships,” the article said.


When their daughters were young and Barack Obama was serving in the Illinois legislature, the article said, “Barack helped as much as possible: on top of juggling jobs, he paid the household bills and did the grocery shopping, often wandering supermarket aisles late at night. When business in Springfield [Illinois] was done for the week, he always drove home that same night, sometimes arriving past midnight. ‘As far as I was concerned, she had nothing to complain about,’ he wrote in his second book, The Audacity of Hope.”


White House Advisor and Obama family friend Valerie Jarrett told the Times that Barack Obama responded to “his wife’s assertions that he was leaving her to raise their children alone,” by promising to do more and make it work. (October 2009)