Q&A With Royal Pains' Mark Feuerstein
The actor talks about his TV doctor role, the real doctors who saved his daughter's life, and his parenting philosophy.
How do you stay healthy while on set?
Luckily we shoot on the pristine beaches of Long Island, so every once in awhile I'm able to squeeze in a jog. I try to avoid the crafts services table, but sometimes that dried fruit just beckons.
You're a dad of three kids. What's the best parenting advice you ever got?
We've done RIE (Resources for Infant Educaring) with all of our 3 kids. It's a way of respecting your child from day one and listening more to who they are than to who you want them to be. Our incredibly wise RIE teacher, Liz Memel, once said, "It's never a bad idea to slow down." I believe in this wholeheartedly with parenting.
What's the most challenging part of being a working parent?
It's just hard to leave the kids at all. And they're going through so many changes without my leaving that I try to stay in their lives as much as I can. We Skype, and I fly back on weekends, but it's still not the same. Before I left to start work on season three of Royal Pains, I made a "Daddy's Leaving for NY" book with the kids, with pictures of the things we love to do together, descriptions of where I'll be and what I'll be doing, things they can do to make themselves feel better, ask for extra hugs, hold their babies, ask to call Daddy. It was great and they read it every day.
Has Addie's heart condition changed your family healthy habits in any way?
I don't think so. We're an active, healthy-eating family. We have been trying to get her to gain weight, so, as opposed to all the self-reliance we're trying to inculcate in our children, we've also been shoving food down her gullet for months. I think now we can back off and let her determine how much she wants to eat at a given meal.
What's the one incurable disease you most wish could be solved?
Heart disease. Congenital heart defects are the No. 1 birth defect. But cancer has been devastating to many friends and family so I would say I wish they could find a cure for both cancer and heart disease.
Not to mention HIV/AIDS, which is even more devastating on a global level. So many people are suffering and dying from so many incurable diseases it's very difficult to pick just one. And lest we forget: influenza, lupus, polio, Ebola, the common cold, and asthma.
You work in the Hamptons, a vacation paradise. Where do you and your family go to get away from it all?
We went to Legoland as a family and that was fun. But this summer my wife and the kids will join us here in New York and we will rent a house in Bridgehampton. The kids will go to a camp and the beach every day and their grandparents will be around. It will be heaven.