Sarah Jessica Parker on the 'Thrill' of Being Recognized as Carrie Bradshaw, Motherhood and Driving a Minivan

Carting her family around in a minivan is just one way to hold on to normalcy.

Sept. 6, 2011— -- After years of navigating the bliss and the hazards of single life in her Manolo Blahnik stilettos as Carrie Bradshaw in "Sex and the City," Sarah Jessica Parker has become a real-life icon of what it means to be fabulous in New York.

"For the most part, I feel really privileged," Parker told ABC News' Katie Couric. "The overwhelming feeling is that my children are healthy, they're happy, they're the source of my joy and then I have this other part of my life that is really interesting and challenging and terrifying, and that I'm still very, very much interested in pursuing."

Now a wildly successful actress, entrepreneur and businesswoman, the 46-year-old's career was transformed following her 1998 debut on the hit HBO series as the single, self-involved shopaholic lead character. Millions of viewers tuned in for years to watch what sort of relationship mishap Carrie Bradshaw would land in next.

"Talking about Carrie Bradshaw is still the thrill, if that is the association, if that is the identity," Parker told ABC News' Katie Couric. "I'm very proud of it."

"I get tired of talking about, 'well you must love shoes,'" she added, laughing.

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Parker has had her hat in the show business ring so long, she's also gotten used to the occasional smack down.

"There have been a couple of men who have told me, 'your show sucks," she said. "I was like, 'who forced you to watch it, sir?'"

The "Sex and the City" series has earned Parker an Emmy and four Golden Globes for Best Actress, as well as spawned two blockbuster movie spinoffs: "Sex and the City" in 2008, and "Sex and the City 2" in 2010.

Parker says as of right now, there is no plan for a "Sex and the City 3."

The HBO franchise also gave Parker the chance to expand her brand: her own production company (which created the new Bravo show, "Works of Art), her design label and three different perfumes. It all adds up to an estimated $30 million in earnings last year -- tying Parker with Angelina Jolie atop Forbes' highest paid actresses list.

Sarah Jessica Parker: Motherhood and the City

Her business ventures notwithstanding, Parker is still making time for the big screen.

Parker's latest project is the film, "I Don't Know How She Does It," a comedy based on the 2002 best-selling book about a working Manhattan mother of two trying, and often struggling, to have it all.

"It's just so interesting. The topic of being a mother, a parent working in or out of the home, how everybody does it," said Parker of the film's plot. "But it is genuinely inspiring and moving to see how a majority of women have to do it and I think about that a lot."

The so-called "Mommy Wars" debate between working mothers and stay-at-home has gotten much attention over the years, and is a clash that Parker is familiar with.

"To suggest that it's work outside the home and it's not work in the home is so crazy to me that I can see that sometimes I think that's the source, in some ways, of this interesting conflict," she said. "This philosophical disagreement about being a mother and what that means and what kind of presence you have to have in a child's life -- we're all slightly envious of the other all the time."

Envious sometimes, Parker said, of some of the other mothers she sees when she is dropping her kids off at school.

"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."

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