President Barack Obama says his family is like a lot of others — in which the men “need to be knocked across the head every once in a while” in order to see imbalances between the time moms and dads put into raising children.
“There’s no doubt that our family, like a lot of families out there, were ones in which the men are still a little obtuse about this stuff,” Obama said Wednesday in an interview with NBC.
He acknowledged things are different now for his wife, Michelle, and him given that they live in the White House with all its creature comforts and army of residence staff.
“Today’s Obama family is obviously not typical,” he said. “Five years ago, six years ago, though, we were having a lot of negotiations. Because Michelle was trying to figure out, OK, if the kids get sick why is it that she’s the one who has to take time off of her job to go pick them up from school, as opposed to me? If, you know, the girls need to shop for clothes. You know, why is it that it’s her burden and not mine.”
The president said he tried to learn to be better — “to be thoughtful enough and introspective enough that I wasn’t always having to be told that things were unfair. That once in a while, I’d actually voluntarily say, ‘You know what? Let me relieve this burden on you. Let me make some sacrifices, in terms of how I’m using my time.'”
He’s the first to acknowledge his efforts weren’t entirely successful.
“The truth is that Michelle still had to make sacrifices of the sort that I did not have to make,” Obama said.
Obama also played down a recent basketball game with male members of his Cabinet and lawmakers. No women were listed as participants in the game, played on a White House court.
The president said it was a standing game among House members that simply relocated to the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. He faced criticism for the all-guys game; Obama brushed it off and said it was nothing more than basketball.