Jenny Sanford: Ready for whatever's next

By Live 5 News Staff

CHARLESTON, SC - Jenny Sanford seems to be spending her days as an author no different than she did before she released her memoir last week.

And that's as a mother.

Even as Staying True sent her onto various book signings and television appearances, the soon-to-be former First Lady continues to put her family above all the distractions that have plagued her life over the past year and a half.

As she's done since Gov. Mark Sanford's public confession of an extramarital affair on June 23, 2009, she's remained focused on doing what's best for her four children and paying them the right attention. And that does not include dabbling in politics, contrary to the fact that U.S. News named her one of ten Republicans to watch in 2010.

"I think if I were ever to become involved in politics, it would have to be for a passion. Right now, I don't have a passion for anything in politics," she says. "I have a passion for going back and raising my kids."

She and her kids moved from the governor's mansion in Columbia to their home on Sullivan's Island in August to make a fresh start, and although her book has brought a little more publicity to an already public family, she says they're making progress toward the future.

"So far they're doing great, and time will tell. When this is all over, I'm going to go back to be a mom because I think they need some more normalcy," she says, referring to what she'll do after her book tours finish up. "I think we need to get into a good routine and really start establishing a track toward the future where this will be behind us."

Her memoir, which she says was written to help and inspire women, details the rise and fall of her 20-year marriage to the governor, as well as focuses on standing her ground to who she is and the values she embraces.

The standing ground part was something the governor couldn't do. He lost sight of his moral compass, she says, and as the media learned more and more about what was a struggling marriage, there was little she could do.

"My world was crumbling," she says. "I had just asked my husband to leave. I was hopeful we'd save the marriage and that he'd wake up. I was hopeful that what happened wouldn't have happened."

As the governor let out more and more details about his intimate relationship with Maria Belen Chapur, the First Lady could only do so much to withstand the humiliation and embarrassment. To help cope with the stress of a failing marriage, she focused on her memoir.

"I talk a lot about faith and what I do to cultivate my faith and what I do to continue to work on character," she says. "And the importance of surrounding yourself with good friends and family all the time because a. they'll keep you accountable and tell you when you're not being true to yourself, and b. they're there to help you when you're facing tough times."

They're good messages for anybody facing life's challenges, she says. She even sent copies to Elizabeth Edwards and Elin Woods, both of whom had also suffered from public affairs.

As her divorce settlement approaches in March, she still has a few more First Lady duties before completely being able put to rest this chapter, but once it's all done, she'll take on the next step.

"The process of writing the book got me to a place of peace with respect to looking back over my life and my marriage," she says. "I have no regrets. I'm ready for whatever comes next. I don't know what comes next, but I'm ready for it."

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