Most know Valerie Jarrett as President Obama’s longtime confidante and senior advisor, but her role as a single mother and her close relationship with her daughter are just as important to defining her identity.
Valerie sat down with her daughter Laura for the latest episode of HuffPost’s parent-child interview series Talk To Me, and discussed everything from working in the White House to the delicate balance between her family and her career.
“I spend a lot of time talking to the younger moms in our office and they’re trying so hard to get everything perfect,” she said. “As a single mom, I felt all of the responsibility to get it just right. I just want [young moms] to relax and to know that life is a marathon. It’s not a sprint. You don’t have to do it all perfect. Kids are pretty resilient.”
“Try and relax and enjoy the adventure a little bit more,” she added. “I was so stressed when you were young. I watched your every move. I studied you, I used to just stare at you...”
“Pretty sure you still do that,” Laura interjected, laughing. (Her mom admitted she was right.)
Valerie emphasized the value of finding little rituals that “center you” (hers included exercise and watching Seinfeld with Laura each night) and added that seeing her daughter’s face every evening helped ground her.
“I’d turn the lock in the key and out of nowhere, wherever you were in the house, you would appear and whatever was happening before just faded,” she said.
Valerie also praised millennial moms for their willingness to prioritize family.
“When I was your age, I was so busy trying to be just like the guys,” Valerie told her daughter. “Keep my head down and do my work and pretend like there was no world outside of work, for fear that people would think I wasn’t taking it seriously. You all are much better about saying, ‘Look, I need to take my daughter to the doctor’s office, or I need to do this or I need to do that.’ And we didn’t.”
Watch it all in the video above.