December 9, 2016 12:17 PM EST

Being the leader of the free world sounds like a pretty stressful job, but that doesn’t mean President Obama sacrificed all his family time for his job. In fact, living in the White House helped bring the Obama family closer together, the President and First Lady told People in an exclusive interview and cover story. As the First Family nears the end of their eight years in one of the most famous houses in the world, they’re reflecting on their time together as a family and how their relationships have transformed.

Michelle Obama explained to People that living in the White House changed things for the better. “It definitely brought us closer,” she said. When President Obama was previously an Illinois state senator and then U.S. Senator, he traveled a lot which caused him to spend time away from his family.

Life in the White House, however, allowed the Obamas to see each other more often than before. She continued, “It wasn’t until the White House that we were together seven days a week, that we could have dinner together, he had time to coach the girls’ teams and go to all their events.” In order to deal with the stress of the job, the Obamas emphasized the important of falling “back on the normalcy and the love of your family.”

Even though the First Family enjoyed quality time together, there was a particular sense of “weightiness.” Michelle Obama said, “Nobody knows what it feels like to wake up and look at the morning paper and know that every headline, good or bad, is your responsibility. Wherever it’s happening in the world.”

President Obama also opened up about being extremely proud of his wife: “Watching Michelle as first lady has just increased my awe and respect for her.” He continued, “It’s fun when you see your spouse shine. And she’s shone.”


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