Dr. Jill Biden also opens up to Parents magazine about the differences in raising sons and daughters

By Benjamin VanHoose
February 04, 2021 10:07 AM

Dr. Jill Biden understands what working moms go through.

In a Q&A featured in Parents' March issue, the first lady — who's also a working college English professor — tells the magazine her best advice for mothers experiencing burnout, while also reflecting on parenting her own kids.

Dr. Biden shares daughter Ashley, 39, with her husband, President Joe Biden, and she also helped raise his sons, Hunter and the late Beau, after President Biden's first wife Neilia and daughter Naomi died in a 1972 crash.

"When we got married [in 1977], I was unprepared for raising boys. I'm the oldest of five girls. And Beau and Hunter truly were rough-and-tumble, sweaty, messy boys," she says. "... When our daughter Ashley came along, our tastes were more aligned. But she was also just as stubborn and passionate as I was."

The first lady says she always wanted two things in life: "a marriage that was strong, loving and full of laughter, and a career" — and President Biden was supportive from the get-go.

"When I needed to write a paper, he would take the kids somewhere to give me a quiet house," she recalls. "He didn't expect me to set aside my career when he became vice president, or now."

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Joe Biden
Credit: Alex Brandon/Getty

Dr. Biden also offers advice for women struggling with balancing work, family and personal lives: "... You have to find moments for yourself. You have to. We moms spend so much time questioning ourselves — at least I did. We need time to just quiet those voices in our head."

That tip can seem out of reach at the moment, with many parents finding themselves with increased responsibilities while isolating at home with their children during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

"Maybe you've made mac 'n' cheese for dinner one too many times. Maybe your temper is shorter than usual. Maybe you're too tired to be the 'fun mom.' It's okay," says the first lady. "You're not failing. You're strong. You're resilient. And you're doing your best to carry your family through one of the most difficult times in memory. We're going to do everything we can to get through this, together."

In their first interview as president and first lady, for this week's issue of PEOPLE, the Bidens open up about how their 43-year marriage only grew stronger through the highs and lows of getting here.

"Jill came along at a really important point and put my family back together," says President Biden, 78, during the conversation. "She's the glue that held it together, and I knew that I wanted to marry her shortly after I met her. … It's not that we don't fight and argue sometimes. I'm just lucky."

"Well," adds Dr. Biden, "after 43 years of marriage there's really not that much more to fight about."