Brooke Shields Says Parents Are "Never Relieved"

"...a whole new set of worries just smacks you in the face."

Grier Henchy, Brooke Shields, and Rowan Henchy attend the 20th Annual Super Saturday to benefit the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance at Nova's Ark Project on July 29, 2017 in Watermill, New York.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Brooke Shields is getting candid about the never-ending anxiety that often accompanies being a parent.

In an exclusive interview with People, the model and actress admitted that she assumed she would feel "relieved" after both of her daughters turned 18 and left the proverbial nest.

Instead, she realized what countless kid-free vacations have taught her throughout the years: Parents never stop worrying about their children.

"You get on vacation and all you do is think about where they are and what they're doing. It's like there's really no relief," she told the publication. "It's like people say: 'Oh, it's going to be great. Just when they start to be able to walk, you don't have to carry them everywhere.' Then they're walking all over and you're worried about them falling off the stairs and in the pool and down the street.

"Every step of the way, you think it's going to be a relief," she continued. "And then a whole new set of worries just smacks you in the face."

Grier Henchy, Brooke Shields, and Rowan Henchy attend the 20th Annual Super Saturday to benefit the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance at Nova's Ark Project on July 29, 2017 in Watermill, New York.

Grier Henchy, Brooke Shields, and Rowan Henchy attend the 20th Annual Super Saturday to benefit the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance at Nova's Ark Project on July 29, 2017 in Watermill, New York.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

This upcoming fall, the model and actress' youngest daughter, Grier, will head off to college, leaving Shields and her husband Chris Henchy officially "empty nesters."

Shields told People she assumed she "would be relieved," but now that both of her children are adults she says she's "not ready."

"The thought of no longer living 24/7 in the house with these people that I've raised, it's just very foreign...it's like going to a totally foreign territory," she explained.

"What is the expression? Wearing your heart on your sleeve?" Shields added. "This is like a hard suit. A whole body suit of a heart."

A post shared by Brooke Shields

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While Shields is preparing herself to deal with a whole new set of worries once her children venture off into the "real world," she says that parenting adult children givers her the opportunity to get to know a different, newer side of her children.

"I said to my younger daughter: 'You're going to need to give me a little grace period because I have to get to know you. For your whole life since the day you were born, I've told you when to sleep, when to wake up, when to eat, what to eat, what not to eat, what to say, what not to say, how to dress, when not to dress.' And I've dictated in a certain sense every single thing about them," she told the publication.

"And then they start revealing their individual selves to you. And you have to realize: 'Oh, that's a person,'" Shields continued. "I said to my daughter, I'm like: 'I have to get introduced to you, because I only know you as doing what I say you should do. And you're not a baby anymore. And I need a little bit of time to re-acclimate to you as the young woman.'"

Danielle Campoamor is an award-winning freelance writer covering mental health, reproductive justice, abortion access, maternal mental health, politics, celebrity, and feminist issues. She has been published in The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, NBC, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, InStyle, Playboy, Teen Vogue, Glamour, The Daily Beast, and more.