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Celebrity

Hayden Panettiere proves that doing what's best for your child isn't always what's easy

Sometimes a parent's love looks like giving up to others, but it's far from it.

Hayden Panettiere; parenting; child custody; substance use

Hayden Panettiere proves what's best isn't always easy.

Parenting isn't always easy. I don't think there's a single person on this planet that would proclaim it's easy to parent a child and to parent that child well. But there's an additional layer to trying to be a good parent when you're also struggling with addiction. Hayden Panettiere knows that struggle all too well and recently went on Red Table Talk to discuss her life and the difficult decision she had to make when it came to parenting her daughter.


Panettiere has a 7-year-old daughter that she shares with her ex-husband Wladimir Klitschko, a world heavyweight boxing champion from Ukraine. When discussing her daughter on Red Table Talk she revealed that she signed over full custody to her ex-husband while she was struggling with her sobriety. While Panettiere feels she had little choice at the time due to how it was presented, she also explained her decision wouldn't have changed because it was best for her daughter at the time.

Panettiere isn't the first person to have to make a decision around caring for her child and caring for herself, it's a common thing that many parents struggle with. You don't have to be a parent in recovery to have an idea of how difficult that decision is for someone. A common theme in mom groups online is the guilt that comes with taking time to care for yourself so you can properly care for your children, so having to make a decision like that on a larger scale is heartbreaking.

Addiction in America is a real problem, whether it be something harder like methamphetamine and opioids, or something that seems innocuous like "mommy wine culture." It's an issue that hundreds of thousands of people face a day, and sometimes it results in people giving up their children by choice or by force. No matter which way a parent comes to be without their child, it's difficult, so Panettiere sharing her story so publicly can only help others who are struggling with the decision.

Admitting that you're not in the place to take care of your child is powerful because you're saying "I love my child enough to not intentionally or unintentionally cause them harm due to my addiction. I love them enough to care for myself so I can show up how they need me." There's strength in that decision and if we as society can talk about that more, it could be life-changing for those struggling with addiction.


Panettiere pointed how publications would make it seem that she simply gave her child away as if there wasn't deep thought and heartbreak in the decision. But there shouldn't be stigma attached to a mother doing what's best for her child, even though there is, and with the stigma comes guilt. No parent should feel guilty for taking care of themselves, even if it means they have to step back from being an active parent.

No matter if you're a celebrity or a suburban parent that has difficulty maintaining sobriety, a healthy parent who visits when they can is better than one that lost the battle of addiction. Everyone wants to root for people to get sober, but we also have to stand behind them when they make the difficult decision to step away from parenting to put all of their focus on healing. Respecting the entire process may save lives and end stigmas.

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You always stole my thunder. You gave them everything they wanted. You never said no when they asked for anything.

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A second helping of dessert. Candy before dinner. A few more minutes in the bath. Money for the ice cream truck.

I struggled to show you respect and appreciation while trying to make sure you didn't spoil my children. I thought you would turn them into “selfish brats" by giving them everything they wanted. I thought they might never learn to wait, to take turns, to share, because you granted their wishes as soon as they opened their mouths and pointed.

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This is the most important van in NYC… and it’s full of socks.

How can socks make such a huge difference? You'd be surprised.

all photos provided by Coalition for The Homeless

Every night, the van delivers nourishment in all kinds of ways to those who need it most

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Homelessness in New York City has reached its highest levels since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Over 50,000 people sleep each night in a shelter, while thousands of others rely on city streets, the subway system and other public locations as spaces to rest.

That’s why this meal (and sock) delivery van is an effective resource for providing aid to those experiencing homelessness in New York City.

Every night of the year, from 7pm to 9:30, the Coalition for the Homeless drives a small fleet of vans to over 25 stops throughout upper and lower Manhattan and in the Bronx. At each stop, adults and families in need can receive a warm meal, a welcoming smile from volunteers, and a fresh, comfy new pair of Bombas socks. Socks may be even more important than you think.

Bombas was founded in 2013 after the discovery that socks were the #1 most requested clothing item at homeless shelters.

Access to fresh, clean socks is often limited for individuals experiencing homelessness—whether someone is living on the street and walking for much of the day, or is unstably housed without reliable access to laundry or storage. And for individuals experiencing or at risk of homelessness —expenses might need to be prioritized for more critical needs like food, medication, school supplies, or gas. Used socks can’t be donated to shelters for hygienic reasons, making this important item even more difficult to supply to those who need it the most.

Bombas offers its consumers durable, long-lasting and comfortable socks, and for every pair of Bombas socks purchased, an additional pair of specially-designed socks is donated to organizations supporting those in need, like Coalition for the Homeless. What started out as a simple collaboration with a few organizations and nonprofits to help individuals without housing security has quickly become a bona fide giving movement. Bombas now has approximately 3,500 Giving Partners nationwide.

Though every individual’s experience is unique, there can frequently be an inherent lack of trust of institutions that want to help—making a solution even more challenging to achieve. “I’ve had people reach out when I’m handing them a pair of socks and their hands are shaking and they’re looking around, and they’re wondering ‘why is this person being nice to me?’” Robbi Montoya—director at Dorothy Day House, another Giving Partner—told Bombas.

Donations like socks are a small way to create connection. And they can quickly become something much bigger. Right now over 1,000 people receive clothing and warm food every night, rain or shine, from a Coalition for the Homeless van. That bit of consistent kindness during a time of struggle can help offer the feeling of true support. This type of encouragement is often crucial for organizations to help those take the next difficult steps towards stability.

This philosophy helped Bombas and its abundance of Giving Partners extend their reach beyond New York City. Over 75 million clothing items have been donated to those who need it the most across all 50 states. Over the years Bombas has accumulated all kinds of valuable statistics, information, and highlights from Giving Partners similar to the Coalition for the Homeless vans and Dorothy Day House, which can be found in the Bombas Impact Report.

In the Impact Report, you’ll also find out how to get involved—whether it’s purchasing a pair of Bombas socks to get another item donated, joining a volunteer group, or shifting the conversation around homelessness to prioritize compassion and humanity.

To find out more, visit BeeBetter.com.

This article originally appeared on 02.07.19


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