Oprah: But your shoes looked good! So after the inauguration, what was your first weekend in the White House like?
Michelle Obama: Well, we still had family here, so it was almost like a wedding. A huge, very complicated wedding. The last visitors didn't leave until Sunday. And then the first Monday was kind of weird. You know: "Now we live here, and Barack is getting up and going to work, and it's just us. This is our home now." But the kids didn't act any differently.
Oprah: They didn't?
Michelle Obama: No. They have been so steady and rock solid that I pinch myself sometimes. Sometimes I pinch them—are you real? Because they've adjusted so well. And that was always my concern: How are they going to do? How is this going to be for these little precious girls who were doing just fine in Chicago and had a happy life? But once I saw them thriving—not just living, but thriving, happy, excited about their day and very much focused on their world—that's when I was able to breathe.
Oprah: And how are you adjusting? What are your days like?
Michelle Obama: My day is structured so that I'm usually not working until 10 or 10:30. That gives me time to get the girls out of the house. My mom is taking them to school because it's less of a scene for her. With all the security involved, it's a more normal experience for them when I don't go.
Oprah: What do people at school call you? First Lady? Mrs. Obama?
Michelle Obama: When I introduce myself, I usually say, "Hi, I'm Michelle—Malia and Sasha's mom." And then when you sit down with another parent and have a conversation, all the titles melt away anyway, and you're just talking about your kids. But to get back to your question, after I see the girls off, I usually work until 3 or 4. Then they're back and we start in on homework. Then Dad comes home and we all have dinner. That's the beauty of living above the office: Barack is home every day. The four of us sit down to eat as a family. We haven't had that kind of normalcy for years. And now I can just pop over to his office, which sometimes I'll do if I know he's having a particularly frustrating day.
Oprah: You pop over to the Oval Office?
Michelle Obama: Yes. I'll just pop over and say hi. And all of this—this being together as a family—is what has made the transition easy. We have each other, in a really fundamental way.
Oprah: What are weekends like?
Michelle Obama: We're still getting the kids' activities schedule straight. They're trying to figure out what they want to do. Sasha has played basketball—
Oprah: She's coming up in the basketball tradition.
Michelle Obama: I know, Barack's losing his mind. I was like, "Settle down—don't act too excited, or she will not want to do it."
Next: Why Michelle's mother moved in too