It's official. If you didn't know that First Lady Michelle Obama was just like you and me, her interview with CBS News confirmed it. The First Lady "accidentally" called herself a single mom while she was talking about the daily struggles of balancing family and work responsibilities.
This "accidental" phrase, by the way, is called a Freudian slip in the psychology world. A Freudian slip is when a word or phrase slips out of your mouth that you didn't mean...consciously. The kicker with Freudian slips is that, according to Sigmund Freud, they actually indicate how you feel unconsciously. Therefore, some psychologists would say that Mrs. Obama feels like a single parent at times, which makes sense given the schedule of her husband, President Barak Obama.
Ladies, if your romantic partner has every referred to you as "mom," that's a Freudian slip. One famous Freudian slip occurred when former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice referred to President George W. Bush as her husband.
With style and grace, Mrs. Obama recovered nicely. However, this verbal faux pas describes an experience that a lot of married, working women probably have. I know I did.
When you are married to a man who travels for business, it can feel like you are a single mother while he is away. I remember when my husband started the HBCU Digest, an online publication featuring achievements, news and commentary on our nation's historically black colleges and universities, it required (and still does) a good amount of travel to institutions of higher learning throughout the country. During these trips, I would refer to myself as a single-parent, and one day he frustratedly asked, "Why do you say that?"
I explained that when he was out of town everything defaulted to me, which could get overwhelming, particularly when I was pregnant with our boys. He pointed out that the term offended him because it lumped him in the category of men who start marriages and don't work on them; the same classification as men who create children and don't stick around to raise them. Of course, he is very physically, emotionally and financially present in our lives, so my single parent term rubbed him the wrong way. Additionally, he pointed out that I didn't have the struggles that lots of single parents faced, if for no other reason than because I knew my husband would return home eventually.
I tried to point out that I was being very literal when I used the term and that I only used it when he was out of town. When I said it, I literally meant that I was the sole person responsible for picking up our boys, cooking dinner and getting them ready for bed, all tasks that we would share if he was home. Additionally, I pointed out that when I am out of town, which is only about twice per year, I see him as a single parent.
Nevertheless, I eventually conceded the point because he did make some good arguments and the term sincerely offended him. But, I do think that it's quite interesting that Mrs. Obama has a similar experience. Wonder what Mr. President thought about her slip?