First ladies have a tough job – they are dragged into exhausting campaigns whether they like it or not, must learn to live in the spotlight along with their family, and are required to pull it off with seemingly easy style, grace, and charm. They are called to be supportive of their husbands no matter what, an exemplary mother, great at small talk, have a flair for hostessing, and a penchant for making skirt suits look attractive. Some women can do it, and do it well, while others wilt in the fierce glare of media attention. With their husbands’ names about to be on the top of America’s voting ballots come November, we want to know: do Ann Romney and Michelle Obama have what it takes to stomach (another) four years in the White House?
With four years behind her, Mrs. Obama already has a track record to show for how she balances family, work, and social obligations. Her main platform as FLOTUS has been to reduce childhood obesity through her Let’s Move! initiative.
Mrs. Obama’s family are the first ones to benefit from her activism as she keeps them healthy and fit. She stresses nutritious eating to her daughters, not so that they will be thin but so that they will have energy for sports activities. Her favorite unhealthy food is french fries and she says she tries to curb her husband’s unwholesome snacking as much as she can. Mrs. Obama has said that she doesn’t count calories but simply focuses on how she feels, and how she feels about herself. She has also planted a garden on the White House lawn so that the family can eat homegrown, organic fruits and vegetables.
Mrs. Obama’s workout routine should be admirable to any mother or working woman. She gets up at 4:30 a.m. every morning to hit the gym before her girls wake up, focusing on cardio and weights, and toning her famously fit arms. When on the road, she packs a jump rope and resistance band and does circuit training.
Ann Romney’s exercise of choice is horseback riding, a pastime she has gained national recognition for in equestrian competitions. She credits the activity, along with a blending of Western and Eastern medicines, for helping her recover from a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis in 1998. On top of living with MS, Mrs. Romney has also battled breast cancer, and has been cancer-free since 2008. In between helping her husband in his political career, she stayed at home to raise their five boys.
As first lady of Massachusetts when her husband was governor, Mrs. Romney focused on efforts to reduce the rates of teenage pregnancy. She also raised awareness of multiple sclerosis. She has worked with several children’s charities, especially focusing on assisting inner-city, adolescent girls. If her husband becomes president, she has said that she will continue to work on behalf of those with multiple sclerosis as well as at-risk youth.
When it comes to diet, not as much is note about the former governor’s wife, although she does appear to fit, trim and healthy. We know Mitt’s favorite recipe of hers are these meatloaf cakes served with mashed potatoes and other vegetables. Should she assume the role as first lady, will she keep the garden or turn it in to a place to keep one of her horses, like her predecessor Jackie Kennedy?