We hereby nominate Mary-Louise Parker as mother of the millennium. The gorgeous, gracious Weeds star, forty-two, is mother to William Atticus, age three, and together they make the most of city living. Raised in South Carolina, Parker is in love with city life and she’s instiling the same devotion in her son. William loves museums, so to museums they go – in New York, where they live, and in Paris and London, where they made a recent jaunt. We caught up with her as she presided – stunning in a tailored black suit and what looked like twelve-inch heels – over a release party for Erbaorganics, a new mother-to-be and baby product line whose sale benefits the Worldwide Orphans Foundation. The organization’s supporters include Angelina Jolie, and no disrespect to Mère Lara Croft, but the Parker apartment houses as much glamour as a mansion full of Jolie-Pitts. – Ada Calhoun
How did you get involved with the Worldwide Orphans Foundation?
Many of my friends have adopted internationally, and they all thought highly of Jane [Dr. Jane Aronson, who runs the WWO]. I met her and said if she ever needed me, I’d be happy to help out. I really believe in what she does.
How have your friends’ adoptions gone? Has it been a hard road?
Every road as a parent is complex. But everyone I know who’s adopted is so fulfilled by it. The other day, my friend brought her adopted daughter over to play with my son, who’s three. She’s a little girl who’s been through a lot. To see her so happy was really moving.
Do you enjoy raising a child in the city?
Yes! It’s an awesome place to raise a kid. The only problem I see is that some kids get overloaded, overbooked. There are so many things to do – activities, sports, classes. It’s easy to get overzealous. So I think you need to be choosy, especially when the kids are young. Even then, there’s so much to do! Food! Parks! Museums!
Does your son have a favorite place in the city?
He loves all museums. He’s sort of obsessed with Van Gogh. We were just in Paris and went to the Mus’e D’Orsay and it was so much fun for him to see those paintings in person. He was mesmerized. And we often go to Podunk in the East Village. The woman there is so nice. When she sees us, she cuts a cupcake in half because she knows I don’t let him eat a whole one. And we just love to walk around. When he was a baby, I loved to walk with him through Central Park every morning.
It’s great to be able to spend time in Central Park. I loved growing up in the city, but sometimes I got jealous of my cousins who lived in the country.
I worry about that sometimes. I’ve thought about getting a place in the country for weekends. But it’s so expensive and hard just to have one nice, big place in the city. It’s hard to think about a second home.
And it sounds like you spend a lot of time out of town anyway. Does your son like to travel?
Yes, he’s a good traveler. We just got back from London and Paris, and we had so much fun. I love just walking through new cities with him and watching him take it all in. It’s so much fun walking around New York, too. I’m happy with him wherever we are.