President Obama wishes a Happy Mother’s day to all moms, while showing what real family values look like in a leader.
The President said, “The issues that mother face, those are the issues that matter to all of us.” Obama pointed out that his Mother was the single most important influence in his life. She taught him compassion, and he saw her struggles as a single mother. This is just one of the reasons women inherently trust this President. He gets that Mother’s Day isn’t just one day a year, but that really honoring the mothers of our country is best demonstrated through actions every single day of the year.
Speaking of his mother, the President said, “She taught me the values of hard work and responsibility but also compassion and empathy, being able to look at the world through somebody else’s eyes, being able to stand in their shoes. She was somebody who recognized that those of us who have some talents and been given opportunities, we have to give something back.”
The President also spoke about his Grandmother, whom he says was very different from his mother. Obama’s Grandmother grew up in the Depression, never had the opportunity to go to college, and worked her way up as a Secretary to become Vice President of a bank. Smiling, he said, “Frankly, if there hadn’t been a glass ceiling, she probably could have taken over the bank.”
The President then said of the First Lady, “Michelle is the best mom I know. She cares deeply about family.” He continued, “She combines the ability to make the kids feel completely loved with a real sense of being able to provide the kids limits. She’s very good at it; the proof is in those girls, who are magical. I’d like to think I had something to do with it, but I think in fairness, I have to give her most of the credit.”
Aw, Mr. President, we see the way you look at your girls and the way they hold your hand with such trust. We know you had a little something to do with their confidence in themselves and their loving attitudes toward others. We also know that the Affordable Health Care Act took pregnancy out of the realm of “pre-existing condition” and made healthcare more affordable for us, including preventative care specific to women being covered. We women are a bit more moved by actions than we are glittery cards that come once a year, though we will take both if we can get them.
Obama noted, “That model of strong, responsible women but also incredibly loving women has been a great gift for my girls, because they can see every day the contributions that women are making in their own family and I think that gives them an enormous amount of confidence as they go forward. The issues that mother face, those are the issues that matter to all of us. Families count on women having equal opportunity.”
When Obama speaks of the women in his life, you hear the respect for the challenges they face as well as deep, genuine admiration for their strengths. You hear compassion and honor for their struggles and their character. When this President speaks about Mother’s Day, it’s not tokenism or patronizingly making one day about moms, while ignoring their needs the rest of the year.
We have our first President raised by a single mother, brought up to respect women for their strength and their love. As the daughter of a single mother who worked so hard to provide opportunities for me, this President’s insight into the real needs of families and of single mothers moves me beyond words. Mothers have been the silent warriors for real family values for too long, unseen by those making the policy decisions.
We finally have our first President who really gets it, because he lived it.
I dedicate this video to my mom, whose fierce independence, strength, courage, and loyalty to her values — along with her unwavering love — continues to show me the way. I wish President Obama had been in office when all of our mother were struggling, but it’s enough to know that we’re going forward, and that mothers finally have a proxy seat at the policy table through this President. Happy Mothers Day, Mom.