Jenna Bush Remembers Mom Laura Bush Calling Husband Henry a 'Saint' for 'Doing Basic Childcare'

"There is no arguing with her when it comes to Henry's perfection," Jenna Bush Hager writes in her new book, Everything Beautiful in Its Time

Childcare is a team effort as far as Jenna Bush Hager is concerned.

In her new book Everything Beautiful in Its Time, the Today show co-host recalls a conversation she had with her mom Laura Bush, in which the latter praised her son-in-law Henry Hager for being home with the couple's children while Bush Hager was speaking at a women's panel in Dallas alongside her mother and sister Barbara Pierce Bush.

"My mom told the audience, 'Our son-in-law Henry is a saint. He's home with the kids while Jenna is here,' " says Bush Hager, 38, who shares three children with her husband of 12 years: son Henry "Hal" Harold, 13 months, plus daughters Poppy Louise, 5, and Margaret "Mila" Laura, 7.

"There is an unwelcome undertone to her portrayal of Henry as a saint," she adds. "The corollary is that being married to me is akin to the martyrdom experienced by the saints."

"I have been to church. I know what some of those saints endured. Comparing marriage to me with the torments undergone by the holy stings a bit," Bush Hager continues.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

Jenna Bush and George Bush
Jenna Bush Hager and family. Jenna Bush Hager/Instagram

"What's more," writes Bush Hager, was that "the context of the Dallas speech was rather ironic."

"There we were, ostensibly discussing the power of women. My mother was describing my husband as a martyr for doing basic childcare," she remembers.

Bush Hager describes her response as one of surprise: " 'Mom!' I said. 'This is not the fifties! Henry is not a saint just because I travel for work. Besides, he is not at home with the kids, mopping the floors and ironing our sheets. He is at work. The kids are at school.' "

"The audience laughed. Mom smiled and shrugged. There is no arguing with her when it comes to Henry's perfection," explains the former first daughter. "She always said that she'd prefer her children marry an Eagle Scout than marry a prince. Henry is an honest-to-goodness Eagle Scout."

Jenna Bush Hager book
Everything Beautiful in Its Time. William Morrow

RELATED VIDEO: Jenna Bush Hager Opens Up About Juggling Life with Three Kids and Her Job at the Today Show

Bush Hager admits she has also outlined her responsibilities as a parent to her own children, remembering a "wake-up call" when her younger daughter Poppy once asked her, " 'Mommy, is there a babysitter, or are you going to be babysitting us tonight?' "

" 'You know I don't babysit you,' I said. 'I'm your mom,' " she writes. "To which she responded, 'Okay, Mom, are you mothering us tonight?' "

" Oh no. Was I going to be mothering them tonight? In fact, I was supposed to go out," Bush Hager reveals. "But what was I supposed to say to my baby: 'No, no mothering for you'?"

" 'Yes, I will be mothering you,' I said, as I picked up the phone to cancel my plans," she adds.

Everything Beautiful in Its Time: Seasons of Love and Loss is available now on

Related Articles