Amanda Peet on Being a Mom, Vaccinations

(Credit: Diane Bondareff/Insider Images for UN Foundation)

My office phone rang at 3 p.m. and a soft voice said, "Hi, it's me Amanda!" That would be Amanda Peet, once named one of People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful Women in the World.  Peet called from Atlanta where she is filming "Identity Theft," with Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy.  She took a break from her schedule to speak to me about her biggest role - being a mother of two.

Here are five things you might not know about Amanda Peet, the mom.

  1. While some Hollywood stars ( see Mayim Bialik) promote the philosophy of " attachment parenting," Peet believes you can still be a hands-on parent without adhering to the tenets of the philosophy. She doesn't believe in any one particular parenting technique. "If it's that easy to bring up children who are functional, thoughtful, civic-minded and kind, we'd all be doing it!"
  2. She believes dads count, big time, especially the father of her children, husband and "Game of Thrones" showrunner David Benioff. "That is 80 percent of the picture.  You have a great husband who is a good father, then you're half way there," she said.
  3. She adores her mother-in-law. Really. She celebrated Mother's Day with both with Benioff's mom and her own.
  4. She freaked out over her first child's first illnesses just like many other new moms. Peet harassed her brother-in-law, an infectious diseases fellow at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, with phone calls and texts every time her daughter Frankie, now 5, coughed or sniffled.
  5. With her brother-in-law's support, she became an outspoken advocate for vaccination after her younger daughter Molly, now 2, contracted whooping cough in 2010.  Molly, who was too young at the time to receive the full regiment of whooping cough (pertussis) vaccinations, was very sick for six weeks.

Peet said that after she came out as a vaccination advocate, she received "enough hate mail to last a lifetime."  (She said she didn't read it.) Peet stoked the fire in 2008, when she labeled parents who do not vaccinate their children as "parasites" and later apologized for the comment, saying it was "mean and divisive."  However, she maintained her stance on the importance of vaccinations for children, warning that any reductions would lead to a resurgence of deadly viruses.

Peet recently debuted a new public service announcement with the United Nations Foundation's "Shot@Life campaign," which highlights how Americans can help save the lives of children in developing countries by donating money for vaccinations.

According to the United Nations Foundation, a child dies every 20 seconds from a disease that could have been prevented by a vaccine costing just a few dollars.

 More information on Peet's "Shot@Life campaign."