Michelle Obama had a choice Monday: accompany her husband to California to hobnob with the president and first lady of China or stay home to celebrate the 12th birthday of younger daughter, Sasha.

She chose to stay home. Michelle Obama has declared herself “mom in chief.” A few months ago she raised eyebrows when she slipped and described herself as a single mom. I'm sure many days she feels like it.

Some Chinese apparently are viewing her decision to stay home for a “family trifle” as a snub to their glamorous first lady. I imagine that now after more than four years of public ceremonies, Michelle Obama is willing to pass up a meeting with foreign dignitaries to spend time with the kids.

I haven’t seen anything about a birthday party for Sasha. Like many busy families, the Obamas may have decided to celebrate another day when they could bring everyone together. But as moms know, even if you have a party on another day, the kids want you to remember their actual birthday.

Michelle Obama made the right decision. You can always meet the Chinese first lady, but your daughter will turn 12 only once.

Liz Atwood is a former Baltimore Sun features editor who teaches journalism at Hood College. She is the mother of two sons, ages 12 and 16.
 
[Does this post strike a chord? Scroll to bottom of page to comment via Facebook.]