In the White House, she will be both a working wife and a stay-at-home mom, trying to give her daughters as normal a childhood as they can have living with the eyes of the world always on them.
Even their new pet won't have a dog's life. In a 1963 interview, JFK told me with bemusement, "We got more letters about the puppies born here than the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty."
Michelle Obama has always been "a working mom," her friend Valerie Jarrett said on Meet the Press Sunday. "She knows how hard it is to manage being a mom, a spouse, have a professional job...Her first priority as she comes to Washington and moves into the White House are those two darling girls, making sure that they are OK, getting them in school, getting them comfortable. Her mom, Mary Robinson, is coming with them, and so she'll have her hands full."
Beyond that, according to Jarrett, "her interests will be work-life balance, volunteerism, military spouses. And she'll go from there. But having a seat at, at the table and being a co-president is not something that she's interested in doing."
In the light of Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama's decision to stay out of policy-making will no doubt draw a lot of attention, even more than did leaving her job to spend full-time on her husband's campaign.
As she pursues her "work-life balance" in the White House, the new First Lady will need all her abundant equanimity to keep family life as private as possible. In yesterday's visit, she got some advice from Laura Bush, who managed to do it very well in a time of turmoil.