Jenna Bush Hager took time from her busy schedule at NBC’s Today show to chat with Richmond Family for an area-wide exclusive interview prior to her September 7 visit to the city to talk about the Virginia Women’s Monument. Proceeds from the event will be allocated toward commissioning the life-size bronze sculpture of Adèle Goodman Clark, one of the twelve female figures selected for the monument. Jenna’s comments about the monument and women in history will appear in a feature story in the magazine next year.
For this update, we were interested in hearing how Jenna, the daughter of President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush and the mother of two girls, Mila (four) and Poppy (two), manages motherhood with being an author and television personality. Like every other mom, Jenna experiences waves of mom guilt. One of her first memories of mom guilt occurred when Mila was about two years old and had just learned to talk. She blurted out “mommy is working” when Jenna was away. “At first it broke my heart because I was traveling,” she says.
But then she realized all the times she is home with Mila and Poppy cuddling and reading to them. When she is with her daughters she makes all technology vanish – phone, computer, laptop – so she can be “present with them,” says Jenna, who is now on her way to the airport for work and feeling that mom guilt growing again.
“This is the difficult part,” she says. “But I think it’s worth it to show them you can do both [work and be a parent]. Hopefully, I am setting an example for them by being present.”
Whenever she can, Jenna carries her family with her. Her husband, Henry Hager, son of former Virginia Lieutenant Governor John H. Hager and Maggie Hager, makes sure he and the girls keep in touch with Jenna when she is on the road. “Without FaceTime, I wouldn’t know what I would do,” she says. “Henry sends me videos constantly. I like seeing their faces. It’s grueling to be away.”
What is it she wants her girls to remember about her if they become moms? “I hope they remember when I was there, I was present and listening and having fun,” she says.
“A Conversation with Jenna Bush Hager” will take place at St. Catherine’s School from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, September 7. Tickets ($50 each) can be purchased online at virginiacapitol.gov and the public is invited to attend.