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First Lady at Howard University: "There Is No One Right Answer"

First Lady Michelle Obama told a gathering at Howard University's School of Business today that working mothers must choose their own paths, balancing work with family.

"The one thing--the one message that I have is for all of you struggling with this issue is just remember there is no right answer. It took me a long time to figure that out. There is no one right way to do any of this. And the choices and the decisions will change, given your circumstances," she told an audience at a panel discussion at the school.

The event was billed as "Home, Work, Community: The Role of the African American Women As Change Agents."

Mrs. Obama, who wore a red dress with a single strand or pearls, spoke briefly at the start of of the panel discussion, which included four business women and a student leader. Howard officials said Obama's staff had called the university and asked whether the first lady could visit as part of her listening tour in her new community of Washington.

She has visited federal agencies, a D.C. school and on Tuesday a multicultural center, where she read to toddlers and spoke to teenagers about life's challenges.

"It was her saying she wanted to come to the university," said Alvin Thornton, interim provost and chief academic officer. "We wrapped the panel around her visit."

Students and faculty members, who were required to have tickets, lined up from early morning to get inside the auditorium. They listened closely as the first lady spoke calmly, saying, "In your struggle to figure these things out as women, as professionals, that you have to do what's right for you at any given time, and that's going to change--from week to week, from month to month, from year to year."

She said it was important for women "to be true to yourselves, not to worry too much about what other people are going to think or make of your choices, because everyone will question what you do and tell you you should've done it the other way."

She said that she had dealt with the issue her whole life, "trying to figure out how to juggle work-family balance in the process of getting an education. There isn't a day that goes by, particularly after having kids, that I don't wonder or worry about whether I'm doing the right thing for myself, for my family, for my girls."

Mrs. Obama said priorities will change, as life changes, as people grow older, as they change jobs and their families grow.

"The person I was when I was in college is very different than the person that I am today. That person is very different than the person who was single.....I was different when I was married. I was different when I was married with kids. I was different when I was married with kids in certain types of jobs. And every step of the way, I wondered whether I was doing the righ thing."

DeNeen L. Brown and Hamil R. Harris

By Marcia Davis  |  February 11, 2009; 2:30 PM ET
Categories:  City Life  
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Lucky students! Wish I were there to hear Michelle Obama speak...

Posted by: zen99 | February 11, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse





Team Obama, this is no "State Secret." You MUST immediately join with GOP defenders of the Constitution to dismantle the nationwide extrajudicial punishment network...

...authoritarian bureaucrats and security/intel officers and their nationwide network of citizen vigilantes fronted by federally-funded volunteer programs.

This nationwide, Gestapo-like operation has made a mockery of the judicial system for the past eight years and has claimed many unjustly "targeted" victims from all strata of society.

Crimes against humanity are being committed against unjustly "targeted" Americans by the AUTHORIZED use of so-called "directed energy (radiation) weapons"... which the Bush D.O.J. recently confirmed are being widely deployed to police forces nationwide.

These RADIATION weapons emit silent, pulsed bursts of various forms of radiation -- degrading and damaging the health of those on the receiving end as well as their operators.

This weaponry has NO PLACE in civilized society -- much less in the hands of security personnel who interact with the public.

The widespread deployment of this weaponry virtually assures its misuse.

Imagine if rogue actors tried to use its silent, deadly force to induce illness or to disorient, prematurely age, sicken or disable our political leaders.

Perhaps they already have.

Victims of this extrajudicial punishment network also see their finances and livelihoods expropriated and destroyed by coordinated "multi-agency action" "programs of personal destruction" that deny them due process of law while degrading their lives and destroying their families.

The IRS, under Bush-Cheney, has been transmogrified into an ideological weapon of social control and recrimination by these covert "multi-agency actions."

Obama administration officials must address these abuses IMMEDIATELY, before these affronts to the Constitution destroy more American families -- and subvert the Obama presidency.




OR (if links are corrupted):

Posted by: scrivener50 | February 11, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Glad to see the first lady continuing to get out in the community. But please stop commenting on her choice of attire! Not that I care, but I can see from the clip what she was wearing. I am a father of two daughters, and I want them to see the First Lady as what she truly is; which is an extremely bright woman with degrees from two Ivy League schools; successful wife and mother. Please celebrate her successes, not what she chooses to wear.

Posted by: hsjr25 | February 11, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad the First Couple are exploring DC. It's a welcome contrast from the former First Couple who seemed dull socially. Mrs. Obama's comment that there's no one right way for working mothers rings true, but she's a shining example of success. Welcome to DC, First Couple, and may your success continue. I support you. Now if you'd just throw some of your power weight behind getting the light rail built on Benning Road/H Street, I'd be even happier.

Posted by: aguy7 | February 11, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

What Michelle Obama is wearing is not news. We don't need to know that she's wearing a red dress and pearls. Please stop reporting about the appearance of women who serve our community.

Now, if President Obama turns up at a press conference in a red dress and pearls....

Posted by: catweasel3 | February 11, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

I agree with several other posters: Report about what she's SAYING and not what she's wearing. This dynamic First Lady is talking about things that matter to people; that actually impact how young black women think about themselves and their place in this world. I am thrilled that she and the President are embracing our community as their own ... and I can only hope that my niece, a business student at Howard, was in that audience!

Posted by: Tootsumi | February 11, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

I think it's relevant to say what she is wearing when the dress she wore on The View sold out in 24 hours. Anything she can do to promote fashion and an interest in shopping is fine with me, given our economic hard times. She is also a model for many women (of all races) on how to select clothing that is simultaneously fresh and attractive, yet sensible, powerful, and appropriate to the occasion. That is not a bad thing to emulate and not the easiest thing in the world to learn.

The day that a report like this is 95 percent clothing and 5 percent what she said, I'll feel differently. But this reads like 5 percent clothing and 95 percent substance, which seems fine.

Posted by: fairfaxvoter | February 11, 2009 7:39 PM | Report abuse

To say what she is wearing does the Fashion Industry well. It helps the designers sell their creations. That has always been the American way. Far from lessening her importance, it enhances it since women all over the world will respond to that fact. That she is brilliant, not even her detractors can deny. So let's lighten up a bit.

Posted by: les3carmen | February 11, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

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