What's a Hui? Why Michelle Obama Can't Live Without Hers!

The first lady opens up about her female friendships -- her "saviors" -- and how she realized, when Malia and Sasha were little, she couldn't do "it" all alone.

All moms need a hui -- a what you might ask? A hui is a term in Hawaiian culture to describe an extended network of non-family members and friends -- a network, my description here, that a mom can't live without! I never heard the term until our interview with First Lady Michelle Obama and now I'm making it part of my regular vocabulary.

"We can't do this alone, we weren't intended to do this alone. Children were meant to be raised in a unit, in a community. And if one isn't there, I think we have to work really hard for our own sakes and for our kids' sake to recreate that little hui, I think is what they call it in Hawaii," Mrs. Obama said with a laugh. "My sister-in-law talks about her hui."

Watch more of our exclusive interview with Michelle Obama here:


The first lady said she realized she needed help when her girls were young and her husband was traveling so much first as a State Senator in Illiniois and then as a U.S. Senator. "I just realized having some kind of support around, whether it was my mom or a set of friends, was essential to keeping me whole and not so angry or frustrated."

Some of her closest friends are moms who have kids the same age as Malia, 14 -- moms Mrs. Obama would get together with every Saturday from the time the kids were infants.  "We would have our play dates, and a lot of times those play dates, when the kids weren't moving yet, were for us," she said with laughter.

Check out what some of those friends said about their relationship with the first lady in this exclusive report and be sure to check back for tomorrow's video when the first lady reveals how she finds "me time" in the White House!

Kelly Wallace is chief correspondent of iVillage. Follow her on Twitter (@kellywallacetv).

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