The mother of three talks Manhattan tourism and how to take time for yourself

“I just put on a TV show for the kids, so we have 24 minutes to talk!” said Sharon Beesley upon picking up her cell phone on an overcast morning. It’s lucky for me that clouds lined the sky, otherwise Beesley surely would have been out and about already—at a museum or other teeming New York City tourist attraction—with her seven-year-old daughter, Ella, and four-year-old twins, Oscar and Owen. On the one hand, Beesley is the definition of a mom blogger (“I’m not going to fool myself into thinking I’m anything else,” she laughs), but she also challenges the label constantly by her sheer level of activity, and the many other ways she spends her hours. We figure she titled her blog NYC Taught Me for a reason, so of course we picked her brain about what she’s learned. —Lucie Alig 

We’re in awe of how adventurous you are with your kids! What are your tips for taking them out into the city?
Make it selfish. I know that sounds weird, but I honestly just take them to places that I’d want to see anyways. The Guggenheim is a prime example, as it’s not really geared towards kids. In fact, kids 12 and under get in for free, so clearly they don’t anticipate getting much traffic from the younger set. And yet it’s one of my kids’ favorites.

Any other touristy things that your kids enjoy in New York?
I haven’t done the Statue of Liberty yet but my parents are coming out next week, and it seems like a good thing to do with grandparents. But we do the Empire State Building a lot. On the last day of summer last year, we went up to the top of the building as a kind of last hurrah. The boys were about to start school for the first time, so we did it as a final gesture. I hope to make that a tradition—it’s like being on the top of the world before embarking on something new.

I read that you have a habit of taking solo trips. Can you speak to the importance of having alone time as a mom?
I had my kids when I was very young, so I didn’t have that time to be by myself and live alone. Now, whether it’s a run in the park or an overnight trip, I seek opportunities to have time to think and be by myself. The biggest splurge was when I went to visit a friend in Paris, but usually it’s more low-key and spontaneous. When I lived in California, there was a small little hostel in a lighthouse that I used to go to. I think it was $20 a night, and it was totally safe. It was a few minutes away from my house, but I felt worlds away.

We’re all guilty of the New York syndrome of eating out a lot and not cooking enough. Can you speak to the food culture in New York, and how you go about satisfying your brood?
[Laughs.] Yeah, I think all I have in the fridge right now is two eggs and maybe some milk. In New York, you always have the option of avoiding McDonalds and Dominos and other fast food restaurants with horrible ingredients. Everything can be convenient and pretty fresh, so I don’t feel too bad about it!

Do you identify with the “mom blogger” title?
I’m not going to fool myself into thinking I’m anything else but a mom blogger. I love to write, so there’s that. But the worst thing in the world is taking yourself too seriously. Admit what you are and be fine with it.