5 Things to Know about Grandma-in-Chief Marian Robinson
01/20/2009 AT 09:40 AM EST
Now, Marian Robinson, 72, plans to follow her famous family to Washington. Typical mother-in-law behavior, right? Candid and independent, the retired bank secretary may not be what you expect:
She's not moving to the White House permanently
Much ink has been spilled about Robinson's plans to share quarters with the President's family at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. But an Obama spokeswoman says Robinson will only temporarily move in to help granddaughters Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, settle into their new life. As Robinson told PEOPLE after the election: "I love those people, but I love my own house. The White House reminds me of a museum and it's like, how do you sleep in a museum?"
She loves yoga
For this spry septuagenarian, limbering up is a family affair. Eleanor "Mama Kaye" Wilson, godmother to Sasha and Malia, is Robinson's yoga partner, and their instructor is her younger brother, Stephen Shields, 57. "He's our youngest child out of seven children and he's the wisest," Robinson tells PEOPLE. " He has found a way to make a living doing what he likes to do. and I've always admired that."
She brags on her son as much as her famous daughter
Setting out lunch in the Obamas' Chicago home this past summer, it was a Sports Illustrated magazine that Robinson was eager to show off to a visitor. Inside was a profile on her son, Craig Robinson, 46, head coach for the men's basketball team at Oregon State University. "They did a whole article on Craig!" said Robinson. "He's another hard worker," she said. "I'm just so proud of him."
She keeps her opinions to herself
Unlike some mothers-in-law, Robinson says she's conscious of not saying too much. "You try to get your kids not to think in the same way you did when you were coming along because you pass down – I call them 'your issues' – you pass down your issues and a lot of times, they don't apply to their time and their life. They will have their own issues; they don't need mine in their head."
She's not as strict as her daughter
"I follow the rules at Michelle's house. At my house, they're my rules. (Laughs.) I know Michelle is strict ... When I'm at their house, the girls are doing all the stuff their mother has told them to do, there's not much left for me to do! But when they're at my house, they don't have to scrape the dishes – and they get to watch TV."
Marian pitches in at the Obama house