Busy Philipps On Raising Girls: 'It's Never Gonna Be Easy For Women'

The actress told us how she's empowering her daughters and raising 'strong ladies.'
Busy Philipps is an actress and mom to 4-year-old Cricket and 8-year-old Birdie
Donna Ward via Getty Images
Busy Philipps is an actress and mom to 4-year-old Cricket and 8-year-old Birdie

Actress Busy Philipps is known for playing tough girl Kim Kelly on “Freaks and Geeks,” swilling wine as Laurie Keller on “Cougar Town” and most recently, for starring on season 2 of HBO’s “Vice Principals.”

As a mom, you can find her posting pictures of her Pinterest-perfect cake creations on Twitter and sharing adorable anecdotes about 4-year-old Cricket and 8-year-old Birdie on Instagram. (“I asked Cricket if she knew what F-O-U-R spelled and she confidently said ‘YES! MOANA,’” reads one recent caption.)

Despite all her accomplishments, the 38-year-old actress still keeps it real enough that you can’t help but relate to her. Like that time she thought she had a shoulder injury and then realized she might just be just an overloaded parent:

Philipps recently found time to speak with us on behalf of Pull-Ups, whom she teamed up with for Potty Training Awareness Month and to encourage moms to to donate their stockpiled diapers to a local diaper bank.

Since we knew she’d marched for her two daughters in the L.A. Women’s March last year, we thought she’d be the perfect person to ask about raising strong feminist women. Read on for her thoughts on parenting girls in the age of Trump, mom-shaming and of course, potty-training.

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So did you have any major potty-training disasters?

Cricket had a pretty major accident during her school play last year when we were just in the middle of potty training. She was unphased by it. That’s the thing. And none of the other kids cared because they’re all new to potty-training themselves. I just felt terrible, like I had failed her, you know.

And I think that that’s one of the things that parents should be able to take away from it ― that it’s not really about you. We put so much expectation on these little people, but they’re cool man. They’re just living their lives trying to figure it all out. They don’t care, they’re fine.

We asked the HuffPost Parents community if they had anything they wanted to ask you and they wanted to know: Have you ever been mom-shamed?

Yes I have been for sure. I think everybody has been, right? I make these cakes ― pretty intense cakes. I’m known for that. So I made Birdie a cake for her birthday and they were doing her birthday celebration at her school and I was working at the time and running around and so I went and picked up two dozen cupcakes to bring for the school celebration.

And the valet at the place where I was picking up the cupcakes asks me what the cupcakes were for and I told him, “Oh it’s my daughter’s birthday at school.” And he goes, “Oh, you don’t make your kid’s cupcakes for her birthday?”

Like seriously? And I turned away and I was just so annoyed. I mean first of all you don’t know my life, dude, and secondly I made a huge cake and third the fact that I felt like I needed to explain it to this guy anyway was such a crazy moment and it made so so mad.

Do you have concerns about raising girls in this political climate?

I would be more concerned about raising boys, to be honest with you, and the messages that they’re being sent. You know what I mean?

I have really strong ladies and I feel like the messages that they get at home, and also in the community that we live in and the people that we surround ourselves with and our family members all send very similar messages about what’s appropriate. I think that it’s incredibly troubling, but it’s also been an opportunity to open up a lot of different dialogues about a lot of different things that truthfully weren’t even talked about when we were growing up.

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How do you talk to your kids about those things?

We try to start with the basics of treating others the way you want to be treated and kindness and what’s an appropriate way to talk to one another what’s an appropriate way to talk about one another. And certainly some messages are going to permeate the culture and they’re going to get them because they’re living in this world. Our job as parents of young women is to counteract that as much as possible with our own messages of empowerment.

How do you handle things like body image?

Birdie’s recently gotten into rock climbing, which I love because it really makes her body feel strong. And I try to emphasize in terms of body image that strength is so important and feeling strong and good and healthy is really important. They see me, and I try to live my life as such. I’m not perfect. I’m also an actress. I succumb to a lot of things that I wish I didn’t in terms of body image and the way that I feel about myself. But we do the best we can, all of us. And that’s ultimately what I hope my girls get across. They also have a really awesome dad who gives them a lot of physical attention and tells them how beautiful and smart and how wonderful they are all the time.

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Sounds like you’re raising a couple of feminists.

I know what some of the messages are culturally. Obviously I’m aware of a lot of the messages that are being spread in the media, and by the president of the United States. But I think that we can counteract it. I do. It’s not easy. It’s never gonna be easy for women. It just isn’t.

The HuffPost Parents newsletter, So You Want To Raise A Feminist, offers the latest stories and news in progressive parenting.

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