Lynne Spears 'Sings Praises' of Britney's Dad, Jamie

02/27/2008 at 01:10 PM EST

Lynne Spears 'Sings Praises' of Britney's Dad, Jamie
Jamie and Lynne Spears
INF; L. Cohen/WireImage
Britney Spears's mom, Lynne, has been praising her ex-husband, Jamie, who has taken control of their troubled daughter's affairs.

"Jamie had to change his whole routine. Lynne sings his praises. He has been such a rock. He has stepped up to the plate," a family friend tells PEOPLE.

"He's gathered a team of reputable people who are around [Britney] now. She's not well, but for the first time in a long time she has people around her who really care about her."

As for how Lynne is coping with having her daughter in and out of the hospital, the friend says, "She's up and down. It's a roller coaster ride as a mother."

Plus, Lynne also wants to spend time with her pregnant 16-year-old daughter, Jamie Lynn, who lives in Kentwood, La., the source says. In fact, Lynne, who has been shuttling between Louisiana and California, is currently back in Los Angeles. "She has to spend time between L.A. and Kentwood. As a mother she feels needed in both places. She's doing whatever she can to help both girls. She's got that maternal instinct, and it's in high gear."

One positive step for the family has been Britney's recent visits with her sons, Preston, 2, and Jayden, 1.

"Lynne talked to Jamie, and he said it was a good visit," says the source. "[Britney] slipped into that motherly mode. They picked up right where they left off. She still has a long way to go [to get better], but that's what we hope and pray for ... Lynne and Jamie want their child to be whole again."

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