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Dragging bored kids around a damp city on holiday? I feel your pain, Mrs O


Michelle and Sasha Obama at Glendalough. Photo: Collins

WHILE everyone else is marvelling at how wonderful/perfect/amazing Michelle O is, I'm feeling her pain.

It turns out she's faced with the same dilemma as the rest of us – how to entertain two teenagers on a worthy-but-dull trip to a damp city.

Like me, she tried to stuff a bit of culture into them. I've traipsed around many a museum and gallery ignoring the audible sighs and demands for lunch.

I've valiantly sold the "history" line in a cheery false voice – schlepping to whatever monument/national park is the destination of choice, while the kids howl in dismay at the lack of Wifi and a nearby Starbucks.

Sasha and Malia may have asked pertinent, interesting questions about their heritage; mine generally want to know exactly how long we have to stay.

Then there's the expensive theatre/dinner combo – you brightly suggest the local delicacy while they push food round their plate and complain it's not the same as at home, but order enough Coca Cola to sink the Titanic.

And what for the working mother, trying to appease them while she earns her living? Like Michelle, I'm never completely 'off duty' on holidays, but while Sasha and Malia sat quietly clapping at her speech, mine guilt-trip me and demand a bribe in return.

It would be unfair to say the delightful Obama girls looked bored the whole time during their trip. A better word, when it comes to teenagers, is normal.


The Long Room at Trinity is best appreciated in full nostalgic adult-hood; likewise Riverdance and Glendalough.

Fifth century round towers are all very well, but when you're 12 or 14, a quick trip to TopShop or The Science Gallery might have been a better day out.

And then there's being dragged around the rellies. In the Obama's case they sensibly stuck to their pleasant cousin Henry Healy. I avoid this too. There's nothing worse than dozens of aged aunts patting them on the head and exclaiming how big they've got.

Michelle and I differ slightly, however. Our "authentic pub lunch" experiences don't usually include Bono. Which is a relief. The poor Obama kids got to suffer him wishing the invite had stretched to One Direction instead. Still, at least he brought his two sons along for company, which doubled the Embarrassed Teens quotient.

And, it has to be said, there was probably no queuing at the airport while trying to find missing passports.

To top off the visit, some down-with-the-kids official decided to present the girls with a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle of Trinity. Lovely. Hours of enjoyment on Air Force One.

They made a wonderful attempt at looking pleased. If it were mine, I'd be pinching them on the arm to stop them making sick noises.

What does Michelle have that I don't?

She even gets them to complete a written report on places they visit. I wouldn't even attempt that unless I was in kamikaze mode.

Otherwise, Michelle's just like us really ... killing time during the summer hols; keeping the kids occupied. Trying to stay sane.