Chelsea Clinton's new children's book She Persisted in Sports: American Olympians Who Changed the Game is available now

By Anya Leon and Jen Juneau
October 23, 2020 04:15 PM
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Mom guilt? Chelsea Clinton "definitely" has it.

In a recent interview with PEOPLE, the former first daughter opened up about her new children's book She Persisted in Sports and all things motherhood, saying she isn't sure it's even "possible to be a mom without mom guilt," especially during the current COVID-19 health crisis.

"[There are times when] I'm on my Zoom and [4-year-old son] Aidan's science class is crashing and then I'm off my Zoom rushing to fix the science class," says Chelsea, 40. "And then I can't stay with him to make sure he gets back on the science class. Then I'm running back into the next room to get back on my Zoom and then I feel like, 'Oh my gosh, I'm not doing either thing very well at the moment, but hopefully doing each as best as I can.' "

Chelsea Clinton
| Credit: Owen Hoffmann/Patrick McMullan via Getty

"There's so many moments like that," she continues, "every day for working parents, and so trying to just be honest about that — honest about the privilege for those of us who can work from home, honest about how much balance still has to happen, honest about how much will fall out of balance, at least some days ... the dishes may not get done until right before dinner or maybe not even until after dinner for the whole day, and that's okay."

"Lots of guilt and navigation and just trying to do the best we can every day, and some days the best is going to be better than others," Chelsea notes.

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Chelsea Clinton and daughter Charlotte in 2015
| Credit: Chelsea Clinton/Twitter

Chelsea tells PEOPLE that she, her husband of 10 years Marc Mezvinsky and their three kids — Aidan plus his siblings Jasper, 15 months, and Charlotte, 6 — "spent all summer with [her] parents," Bill and Hillary Clinton.

"It was really wonderful for our kids to have that time with their grandparents — especially for Charlotte and Aidan to be with my parents in the season from late spring really through the whole summer, where they were able to plant a garden together and tend a garden together and pick and harvest the food together and eat the food together and play so many games," she says. "I was really grateful for that time."

Mezvinsky, Chelsea says, comes from a family of 11 children. And while it's a challenge to keep up with so many people, the couple really strives to "remain connected" with his siblings and their immediate families.

"Recently, some of our nieces and nephews and my kids have all been listening to the same audio books and talking about what they're hearing, what they imagine," she shares. "I'm super thankful [my kids have] had so much time over the last seven months with my parents [and] super aware of how much time we haven't had with other parts of our family. We've just tried to figure out ways to remain connected, especially for our kids with our cousins."

Chelsea tells PEOPLE that she thinks the message in her new book is equally crucial for girls and boys, saying, "I think it's really important that girls and boys alike grow up knowing and hopefully looking up to and being inspired by strong and persistent women."

Book cover for She Persisted in Sports: American Olympians Who Changed the Game
| Credit: Philomel Books

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"I wanted it to be about athletes and I did especially want it to be about Olympians because I love the Olympics and I watch as much of the Olympics and the Paralympics as possible and always have," she continues. "These stories just have inspired me throughout my life and still today, and so these also were the stories I wanted to share."

The book features a bevy of notable female athletes like Kristi Yamaguchi, Venus and Serena Williams, Mia Hamm and more — including one young Olympian that Charlotte has taken a major liking to.

"Charlotte is obsessed with Simone Biles and loves watching clips of her, thinks she can fly — which I agree, it isn't too far off — and just is full of such awe and wonder," Chelsea says. "She's like, 'Mom, Simone started gymnastics when she was 6.' And I say, 'I know.' And she's like, 'I could do that.' "

She adds, "And I say, 'Well, maybe, if you work really hard,' thinking, 'Of course you're probably not going to be the greatest gymnast of all time, but you know what? Maybe you are! Who knows? And you certainly won't be if you don't try and you don't persist.' "

She Persisted in Sports: American Olympians Who Changed the Game is available now on amazon.com.