As the first First Family in years to be raising young children in the White House, the Obamas expected their new living space would be a frequent play date destination, according to Michelle Obama.
But apparently that’s not the case, with Sasha, 10, and Malia, 13, preferring to spend time at their friends’ homes.
“My kids are like every other kid in the sense that everybody else’s house is more interesting than their house,” Obama, 48, said Thursday during a Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day roundtable with women’s online outlets for her Let’s Move! initiative.
“We do sleepovers, but [The White House] is not their first choice.”
|Michelle Obama with online women’s editors and their kids, including PEOPLE.com’s Shanelle Rein-Olowokere and her son (third from right) – Sonya N. Hebert/The White House|
The First Lady reenacted a typical exchange with her daughters, who apparently are unimpressed with living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. “It’s like, ‘Well, don’t you think it’d be interesting for your friends to be here?’ ‘I don’t care,’” she jokes.
“I thought I would have kids over every weekend,” Obama admits. “So it’s surprising.”
But while Sasha and Malia might be less than wide-eyed about living in a national landmark, Obama says they still view herself and President Barack Obama as role models.
“I think in the end our kids look up to us, first and foremost, whether they admit it or not,” she tells PEOPLE. “We are our kids’ first and best role models … Everyone else is just a symbol of something. You don’t really get to know them well enough to idolize them or to have them impact your lives unless you’ve had a unique experience.”
“My girls love Beyoncé. They’ve met her, but they don’t know her,” the First Lady says. “They think she’s cool, they love dancing. She seems like a good mom. They’re rooting for her, but they know me. So I think for them, that’s why I’ve got to have my stuff together.”
– Liz Raftery with reporting by Shanelle Rein-Olowokere