Britney and Jamie Lynn's mom opens up about her family's troubles, her reconciliation with Britney and her new memoir

By Alicia Dennis
Updated September 10, 2008 09:10 AM

Lynne Spears says that even knowing what she knows now, she would still let her daughters Britney and Jamie Lynn pursue stardom.

“I think you have to let them follow their dreams,” she says in a new interview with PEOPLE. “I think it would be worse in the end if you didn’t.”

But she does express regrets about not listening to her “gut” at times: “Was I the perfect mom? No.”

In an exclusive excerpt from her new memoir, Through the Storm: A Real Story of Fame and Family in a Tabloid World, Lynne, 53, details the highs – and lows – of her family’s journey from Kentwood, La., to the harsh international spotlight. “Every mother makes mistakes,” she writes, “and I’m no different.”

“I wanted the truth out in my own words for myself and my family,” she tells PEOPLE of writing the book, which chronicles Britney’s highly publicized troubles and Jamie Lynn’s pregnancy at 16. The latter, says Lynne, “was probably the hardest time in my life.”

What do her kids – Britney, 26, Jamie Lynn, 17, and Bryan, 31 – think of the book?

She says Britney and Bryan have yet to read it, but “Jamie Lynn loved the book. I started to cry because I told her, ‘I wanted so much for you to like it.’ And she got up and kissed me on the cheek and said, ‘Mama, thank you so much.'”

Lynne’s once-troubled relationship with Britney “has undergone tremendous healing,” she says. “We are back to four or five phone calls a day.”

These days Lynne is also a doting “Me Maw” to her grandsons Preston, 3, and Jayden, 2, and granddaughter Maddie Briann, 2 months. Of Britney’s boys, she says, “They are the cutest! The biggest personalities you’ve ever seen. Preston is the older brother and he’s protective, but Jayden is tough as nails.”

For more on this story, including Lynne’s memories of Britney’s early career and her hopes for Jamie Lynn’s wedding, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday