Busy Philipps on Raising Two Daughters: ‘My Greatest Fear’ Is One Will Be Sexually Assaulted

07/22/2016 at 01:15 PM ET

Never has there been such an apt first name as Busy Philipps‘. The Freaks and Geeks alum certainly has her hands full these days, between juggling a flourishing acting career and parenting duties for two kids.

But as much influence as she has over their lives, there’s one big thing the actress admits she’s afraid of not being able to control when it comes to her daughters Birdie Leigh, 7½, and Cricket Pearl, 3.

“My greatest fear and worry is that one of my daughters will be sexually assaulted in her life,” Philipps, 37, shares candidly in an interview for Mini Magazine‘s Summer 2016 issue. “I know the statistics and I will try to help by starting conversations early about sex and protecting themselves, but it scares me to no end.”

Adds the mom of two and wife to screenwriter and producer Marc Silverstein, “I really hope that meaningful steps will be taken on campuses and I hope consent becomes a part of sex ed in schools.”

Busy Philipps Daughters Mini Magazine Main
Gretchen Easton/Mini Magazine

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Busy Philipps Daughters Mini Magazine Main
Gretchen Easton/Mini Magazine

The steps the former Cougar Town star is taking to ensure her daughters and their peers are educated is not surprising, considering how motherhood has changed her — namely, how overwhelmed with love she felt when Birdie was born.

“I figured [motherhood] would be like any other kind of love that I had experienced in my life, but it isn’t. It’s not something you can be prepared for,” Philipps says. “It’s all encompassing and so massive that you feel like you might break at times.

“I called my mom sobbing when Birdie was a few months old and said, ‘I’m sorry,’ ” she continues. ” ‘All this time, I had no idea how much you loved me … ‘ ”

Busy Philipps Daughters Mini Magazine Main
Gretchen Easton/Mini Magazine

And her daughters are always on Philipps’ mind, even when they’re nowhere near her, but she has accepted that it’s just reality when you’re a parent.

“Part of my brain is always taken up by how to protect them, keep them alive, be a good mom. Seriously, I was in a SoulCycle class and all I could think was, ‘Is the upper lock to the gate and pool locked?’ ” she says. “That’s just your brain when you’re a mom.”

Philipps, who’s also known for playing Joey Potter‘s college roommate and eventual best friend Audrey Liddell on the last two seasons of Dawson’s Creek, is refreshingly honest about the fact that she has a lot of help — from both Silverstein and their nanny, Iliana.

“Nothing would be possible without Iliana and her family and their support,” Philipps notes humbly. “I mean that.”

Busy Philipps Daughters Mini Magazine Main
Gretchen Easton/Mini Magazine

But despite tag-teaming with her husband and having help, the actress makes it clear that she expects her girls to pitch in where they can during the family’s routine.

“[Cricket] picks out her outfit for the day and I help her get dressed,” Philipps says, adding that Birdie “does best with her dad in the morning” while getting ready for school.

“I’m a big believer in letting kids have as much responsibility as you can give them in terms of helping around the house and getting themselves dressed.”

Busy Philipps Daughters Mini Magazine Main
Gretchen Easton/Mini Magazine

Busy Philipps Daughters Mini Magazine Main
Gretchen Easton/Mini Magazine

Since becoming a mom, Philipps has learned to step back and reflect on herself, and knows deep down that no one parent has it all figured out 100 percent.

RELATED VIDEO: Busy Philipps Reveals the Epic Birthday Surprise She Has Planned for Her Daughter!

“Obviously, no one is perfect! I’m not perfect!” she confesses, noting that “it’s not all Instagram worthy!” in her household and that she works on her own emotions in regards to her kids’ tantrums during therapy sessions.

“I have my own grown-up versions of temper tantrums too,” she continues. “I have a hard time not getting hurt when my kids have meltdowns.”

Busy Philipps Daughters Mini Magazine Main
Gretchen Easton/Mini Magazine

Philipps also finds time in her head to consider what she wants for her daughters in the long term.

“I want them to care deeply about people and the world we live in and what they choose to do for a living and their own families,” she explains. “I really try to show them how important it is to care and make sure people know that you do.”

The actress notes that her older daughter is very outgoing and “will literally talk to anyone,” while Cricket is more of a “zany, free spirit.” But as different as they are, they both appreciate a good book — with Birdie being partial to one author in particular.

“We are currently on the last book in the Ramona series by Beverly Cleary,” the proud mom says. “I don’t know how she did it, but Beverly Cleary so perfectly captured what it’s like to be a little girl trying to do her best growing up.”

Jen Juneau

FILED UNDER: Busy Philipps , Kids , News , Parenting

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Showing 36 comments

Guest on

Why on earth would you even think like that!! I’m

Madison on

OMG Did you really just say that out loud? What a moron. Why? Why? Why?

annie on

Don’t worry Busy. If they grow up to look like you that won’t happen

vik on

You ladies on this thread are horrible! And to state that if her kids look like her they won’t have to worry! Wow, you idiots have such little self confidence, it’s quite amazing!

Vik on

Wow, you ladies on this post are horrible! Go do some self reflection, and realize that you are bullies! I pray you don’t have any children to teach them your horrendous ways!

Tee on

Ach, I REALLY enjoyed reading this interview! There is something just so refreshing about Busy’s attitude towards motherhood and life in general. While not a huge fan of unique names, I love the explanation she’s offered behind Birdie and Cricket’s names. She seems to be a really good Momma, very hands, and I greatly appreciate how she openly admits to the fact that she has a nanny and how she seems truly grateful to her for the help.

Annie, SERIOUSLY? That comment was completely unnecessary. Goodness gracious, people like you make me genuinely weep for society. That was rude, uncalled for. I hope you don’t have children that you influence with such a nasty heart.

megan on

” Seriously, I was in a SoulCycle class and all I could think was, ‘Is the upper lock to the gate and pool locked?’”

So instead of going home to check or at least stepping out to call their nanny to ask about double checking, she stayed put ? Yeah, good move, honey. That’s what a caring parent does, half heartedly worry “my kid might drown” and then flip flop back to “I need a sip of my fancy water & omg I love this workout song, I am so in the zone!”

mary on

I have 3 young daughters. As a mother I would love them, feed them, be there for them, advise them, help them if they needed, just be a very supportive mother. But in my wildest dreams I would never think about my daughters being sexually assaulted. Who thinks of that? There are some commenters saying that we shouldn’t be saying negative stuff but honestly, I read this article and was truly amazed. Her kids are beautiful; she should enjoy them while they’re young, steer them in the right direction, show them the way. Young or old, their are dangers in your home and on the street. I have too many other things to worry about if my children might get sexually assaulted. Busy needs a reality check and fast!

Wow on

You women need to wise up because it isn’t a fair or pretty world out there 100% of the time. People who think like this most likely have been through something because they know it is very, very possible.

As a child social worker, with my own personal reasons behind my profession, I can say too many children from speaking age to 18 alone come forth with cases of abuse and they’re not just lower class neglected children….predators are everywhere in every shape or form. To not think about it and to not talk to your children about these things is neglectful IMO.

C on

An odd thing to say? Maybe. But as a woman who went through this, the thought of my future children / nieces / nephews ever being in this situation is in fact horrifying and one of my biggest fears. So much so that I’ve talked to them about it it vague terms when they’re as young as 2-3 – in terms about what kind of touching is ok, etc. This doesn’t make me crazy or psycho, it means there are things in my past that I will do absolutely ANYTHING in my power to make sure it doesn’t happen to those I love.

Sara on

What naive people you all are. 1 in 3 women will be sexually assaulted in her life time. 1 in 3! I am a social worker and I work at a sexual assault support centre. You would not believe how many women, from all walks of life, have been sexually assaulted. You are stupid, and frankly a bad mother, if you do not think about how to protect your daughters from sexual assault. It completely blows my mind that grown women would react like this.

mer on

How is it an odd thing to think and say out loud?? You mean to tell me that as parents to daughters you have never thought of all the dangers they are oout there?? And why is it weird to say it out loud? Sexual assaults are happening and we need to talk about it more and tackle the problem, not pretend it doesn’t exist.

van on

I think it’s pathetic to think of your kids grown up may happen that way.

Anonymous on

Who thinks like that Mary? I’ll tell you, someone who HAS been sexually assaulted. I was raped when I was 15 years old by a man who was friends with one of my friends’ parents. He got me alone when he knew nobody would be looking for me for a while and he raped me and told me nobody would believe me and if I reported it I’d be responsible for his kids growing up without a father.
I now have 2 pre-teen daughters and I worry when they are sleeping over at friends’ houses, I worry when they go somewhere without me period. I know I will not be able to protect them every minute of their lives and I can’t let the fear of what might happen get in the way of them living their lives but it terrifies me, I worry about it often. Moms SHOULD worry about it, by all accounts the man who raped me was a ‘nice’ family man. He didn’t look scary, he didn’t act scary, he did nothing that alarmed me at 15 until he started touching me, which he never did prior to that day. Is it my greatest fear? No, but it is a frequent fear of mine and anyone who isn’t worried about it at all is naive.

Olay on

It’s ridiculous she is worrying.

Just Saying on

I’ve thought the same thing about my niece. It’s a legitimate fear and there’s nothing wrong with her wanting to start the conversation early to help protect them. She’s being a rational mother and realizing that there’s so much darkness in the world. There have been articles about African American mothers saying they’re terrified their sons may be shot- same thing! Mothers worry people.

brigid on

Given the statistics this is a very valid concern. Does no one know who her father was? Her father repeatedly raped one of his other daughters, and if I remember correctly Busy did not believe her, so.

Maria on

It’s amazing what Hollywood mother’s biggest fears are, which in itself is fearing and sickening. They think so differently that we do, and not in a good way.

Kathleen on

With names like Birdie and Cricket, the biggest concern is whether one can earn a living via stripping and pole dancing. I also think (hope) that People just took, what appears to be, a very extensive and in-depth article and took its most shocking point and made it the headline.

Elaine on

Wow, the biggest thing I worried about when my kids were that age was, I hope they get good grades! What an idiot.

Dee on

Another idiot in hollywood. What parent would even have that thought? What you focus on expands so she may get what she’s afraid of. Idiot.

Marie on

It’s a common stressor/worry as a mom with girls. It’s a reality 1 in 4 or 5 will be sexually assaulted. I never thought my 5 yr old would be assaulted by a 12 yr old boy under my caregiver’s watch. But it happened😦

Alex on

I imagine all parents worry about their children’s futures to some degree, and I think it would be naive for a parent to not at some point have the worry that her daughter might be sexually assaulted. I have one daughter, and sexual assault is one of the fears I have for her. I was not sexually assaulted, but know women who were, and I know the statistics as other posters have noted. I plan to teach my daughter ways to help keep herself and her friends safe. I certainly do not plan to sweep it under the rug as an irrational fear. It’s a fear that you have and you address by keeping your kids safe and teaching them how to help keep themselves safe.

Cee on

Okay the }ithchy comments on here are exactly the reason I stopped participating in some on-line mother groups. UGHHHHHHH the negative energy from some people. Here I read this article and thought how beautiful and sweet it was. She seems to have such gratitude for how full her life is. Why did people mag pick that title? Then I go to make a comment and BAM there they are in full force, the ungrateful spewing hate. It’s gross really. To all those leaving kind words, thank you for your true maturity. To the rest…get help please!!! Busy your kids are as beautiful as the day is long. Reading about your love for your children was so relatable. I don’t really have much help raising my kids and loved reading how much you appreciate those in your life that do. ❤️

reneadijab on

As usual, the comments on People are a toxic waste dump, but to Busy’s fears for her girls, she is like any other mom. We all have those fears of safety for our daughters. Every terrible thing that happens to a young woman in the news is one more worry to keep you awake at night.

Tara on

That is right Busy it’s never too early to start demonizing the male gender and putting fear in your daughters. Pathetic bias wrapped up in the pretty bubble of “empowerment and knowledge”

Tara on

@brigid? Do your research her father is not John Philips. No relation at all.

Meg on

consent needs to be discussed by parents with their children no matter their genders. I understand parents get worried and try to control their daughters because they have no control over the predators out there-but guys get assaulted too, and that’s sending the message it’s somehow the victims fault if they’re assaulted. ‘What were you wearing?’ their clothes or alcohol didn’t assault them, the abuser assaulted them.

LOL on

@Tara Reread the article….Busy didn’t put down any specific gender or sex…..you did lol

Kristen on

Yes – let’s chastise her for being a responsible parent and planning to prepare her children with the notion that there are actually sick predators out there (adults and teens alike, strangers and people they trust) who could hurt them. Do you know who she grew up with as a father and why this would be a concern for her? No? Look it up. Have you ever been a victim of sexual assault or have been close to someone who has been? No? Try to put yourself in a victim’s shoes. What if you could prevent this for someone you love? Rich or not, she’s doing a great service to her daughters to worry about a legitimately horrible crime thing that continues (and is still accepted in many parts of the world) since basically the beginning of time. Also, I just love how people rip on her for going to the gym and leaving her kids with a nanny. Do people not workout and put their kids in the gym playrooms? Or perhaps have a sitter come over while they go work out? Ok, yea, she has some money, she’s an actor from a famous family, but she’s also a human being and a mother and nothing she said is sooo shocking it warrants all the judgement and hissy fits.

Tara on

You people are clueless. Her father is not John Philips and I guarantee you that Busy’s dad is mortified some of you are making these accusations. You are thinking of the “model” Bijou Philips.

Meena on

If that is your biggest fear then keep your eyes on your husband, male relatives, teachers, etc. Statistics show that it will more than likely be someone you know messing around with your girls.

Anonymous on

First of all, I think it’s absurd that people are actually judging her for having these thoughts. Second, those who never have those thoughts about their children are clearly living in a delusional bubble. The world we live in these days, you can’t help but worry about the bad shit going on and what could happen. It’s normal to worry about your kids. I am currently expecting my first child (a boy), and even I worry about how he’ll turn out. I get stressed about raising him properly and teaching him right from wrong. And the biggest thing I want to teach him early on is consent towards females. With so much sexual assaults happening daily (as seen through the Stanford University situation), I feel strongly about teaching my future son about what’s NOT allowed. So I can totally understand where she’s coming from. The biggest thing we can teach out kids is to use their brains and to know right from wrong, to make the RIGHT choices, to have instill values so they don’t get themselves into dangerous situations.

Tara on

@lol yes of course she would never mean horrible makes. Get a clue idiot.

Qon on

It’s pathetic to even have that thought, if you focus on that you may get what you get.

Anonymous on

Busy is such an airhead, who really shouldn’t publicly speak. And the names of her children are humiliating; those poor children are going to be laughed at their entire lives with such absurd names.

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