The world's most famous first lady confessed that she sometimes misses the quiet anonymity of private life.
"It's a lot easier to live your life when everything you do doesn't have a consequence," she conceded.
The first lady detailed what her private life is like in the White House to Time magazine during a lengthy interview in which she revealed she sometimes misses kicking around in Chicago and is still trying to adjust to the lavish lifestyle at what could arguably be the most famous address in the world.
"It's the anonymity of just living your life and making choices and decisions, and moving through the world without sort of constant commentary. That was nice," she told Time.
The first lady said she often finds herself saying, "I'm not supposed to be here," as she wanders through the halls of the White House, spending early mornings walking the first dog Bo then taking a run on the treadmill and getting her girls ready for school. It often seems surreal, she said.
"That's why I'm so touchy with the kids, because I think if I touch them and I hug them, that they'll see that it's real, and then they'll relax and breathe and actually kind of enjoy the time and make use of it."
But the ability for her two young girls to visit their Dad whenever they wish -- a departure from what the Obama's were used to in Chicago -- makes the transition more palatable.
"It's more normal than we've had for a very long time," Michelle said.
Michelle, who gave up a $212,000-a-year salary job and a life in hometown Chicago to move to the White House, said she initially resisted moving to Washington, D.C., when President Obama first became a senator.
"I was like, 'No,'" she told Time. "All my support is the support you build up over the years. It is my mom, girlfriends -- you move away from everything," she said.
She said she considered it a trade-off. That she would be able to leave the White House and "still be in the prime of my professional life," she said.
"If I thought that I'd be shortchanged in any way, and if he thought I'd be shortchanged in any way, we wouldn't have done it," Michelle said.
The first lady has been scrutinized by the media in everything from her fashion choices to policy speeches but Michelle brushed off her harshest critics.
"That's my message to women, if anything, over the course of this, is, find your space. Find your spot," she said. "Wear what you love. Choose the careers that may have meaning to you, because there's always somebody who will say, I wouldn't have worn that color, or why didn't you work at that job."
Michelle said she tries to keep home and work separate and create a life in a new town as best as she can.
"In life you have to make choices that make sense for you, because there's always going to be somebody who'll think you should do something differently," she said.