"If I'm running to work and maybe there's parents there who aren't and they're getting to spend 20 to 30 minutes after drop-off together talking -- there's a part of me that wishes I could be there," she said. "What I've learned about being a parent is how much you sort of secretly learn from everyone else and how valuable it is."
When she's not playing the role of mogul, Parker's focus is on her family -- husband and fellow actor Matthew Broderick and their three children, 9-year-old James Wilke, and twin girls, Tabitha and Marion, born through a surrogate two years ago. Parker prides herself on being very hands-on, right down to driving the ultimate mommy mobile -- a minivan.
"Respect the van," Parker said laughing. "I'm telling you it's the most wonderful car."
Carting her family around in a minivan is just one way of hanging on to normalcy and avoiding the trappings of a celebrity -- such as being followed by paparazzi when her son is walking to school or Parker is playing with her girls outside.
"I think the things that are more painful to me are not the intrusion of paparazzi, it's the lack of civility that I find more intimidating and far more painful an experience," Parker said. "It's the lack of critical thinking. It's the endless snarky, mean way we talk about each other, we approach each other. The anonymity of being cruel, the delight in tearing people down. The tabloid era that we find ourselves in is a cultural boneyard, and that is painful to me."
"Dealing with the streets of New York and going to the market myself and navigating being a public person, in physical ways, I am up to the challenge. It is the emotional scar tissue that is incredibly difficult for me," she added.
Maneuvering public life as a New York-branded celebrity living in New York isn't easy, but Parker does it by living the most conventional life she can. Still, she says at some point she wants to steal away and travel more.
"As far away as possible, with my children," she said. "Eat the strangest food, see things I could never imagine, smell things, hear things. That I have to do. I have terrible, wonderful, wanderlust."