This woman’s a ‘bad’ mom. And she’s damn proud of it.

Sia Cooper is a mother of two, a certified personal trainer, and an Instagram dynamo with over 921,000 followers.

WHY DO YOU WORKOUT ON VACATION?? 🤔 I’m sure some of you might wonder. To me, it’s just another day to improve myself mentally and physically while indulging. Yes, you can do both! 🙃 I also like keeping up my routine so that when I go back home to my ordinary life, it won’t be as hard to get back into the groove. Also my muscles won’t hate me for taking that time off. 🤦🏽‍♀️ I don’t think working out on vacay is obsessive nor is it to punish myself for anything that I ate! I workout because it’s a celebration for what my body can do and I want to treat it well. 💜 Trust me... I’m eating all the pancakes while I’m here! I’m just also balancing it out with keeping fit, too! ✌🏽

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She’s also discovered an excellent way to get rich.

“If I had a nickel for every time I’ve been called a ‘bad mom,’ Cooper wrote in a recent Instagram post that’s since gone viral, “I would be soooo rich!”

OK, so maybe Cooper won’t be heading to the bank to cash in on this any time soon, but anyone who’s ever been shamed for not being a “good enough” parent will immediately know what this mom’s talking about.

The reasons Cooper’s been criticized? It’s not neglect or abuse — she’s not handing her kids a box of matches and telling them to knock themselves out — but rather, a host of regular everyday things that other people see as “wrong” due to their own subjective values.  

And according to the list of complaints Cooper’s collected, it seems like no one’s holding back from offering their opinions on her parenting.

Here are just some of the things Cooper’s been called out for: working out while having kids, having tattoos and piercings, letting her kids use technology, drinking wine “every now and then,” letting her kids enjoy a Happy Meal on occasion, not covering up, having a hobby, and — bafflingly — using canned goods and plastic crockpot liners.

She’s also gotten flak for exercising at Target.

The only thing she hasn’t gotten criticized for? Breathing. ...At least not yet.

We are back at @Target and getting our fit on! 🎯 I even got a few employees to join in with me. 👯 Obviously, Target isn’t where I go to workout-it’s the idea behind it. However, many have taken these videos way too literally and have missed my main point. As a busy mom of two, I don’t always have time to make it to a gym and I don’t expect you to, either. Get it where you can; when you can. As a certified personal trainer, I preach this to my clients daily. It’s the little steps that you take that create the biggest results. Those calf raises that you do while reaching from the top shelf. Those squats you do while waiting for dinner to cook. Those lunges you do at the gas station. Those jumping jacks you do during commercial break. It ALL counts! Think outside the box and get creative. Don’t be afraid to do you. Don’t care what others think! 🤷🏽‍♀️The haters talk because they have nothing else to do. Special thanks to Target employee @veratellez for joining in the fun!💜

A post shared by SIA COOPER (@diaryofafitmommyofficial) on

It’s like parents can’t do anything right.

“It seems almost impossible to be a textbook or politically correct good mom these days because everywhere you turn another mom is judging your parenting choices,” Cooper wrote in her post.

She’s not alone in her exasperation. According to a 2017 survey, 61% of moms said they’d been criticized about their parenting choices.

And with all those (perhaps well-meaning) critical opinions on top of raising two kids? Well, it’s enough to drive someone to distraction — or at least the occasional glass of wine that Cooper mentions having.

Shaming someone’s parenting choices is just wrong.

As any amount of how-to books will tell you, parenting is hard work. And moms especially can be under a lot of pressure to be perfect. But that doesn’t mean they have to give in to all the finger-wagging that comes their way.

That’s why Cooper’s no longer fighting the “bad mom” label. In fact, she’s actually damn proud of the kind of mom she is.

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve been called a “bad mom,” I would be soooo rich! It seems almost impossible to be a textbook or politically correct good mom these days because everywhere you turn another mom is judging your parenting choices. Am I right? I’ve been called a bad mom for: Workout out during pregnancy. Working out while having kids... period. For caring about my looks and health. Working out in Target. Using canned goods and plastic crockpot liners. Having tattoos and piercings. Enjoying wine every now and then. For letting my kids use technology. For letting my kids have sugar and happy meals occasionally. For not “covering up” around my kids. For running a full time business from home. For co-sleeping with my kids. For collecting sports cars and motorcycles aka having a hobby. For taking time for myself. For having abs. I’ve learned that the true “bad moms” out there are the ones who constantly tear other moms down by judging them. Those moms are the ones who are truly insecure and have strong feelings of inadequacy because why else would they do that? Misery loves company. There’s no one right way to parent or to be a mom. We all are running in the same race and doing the best that we can. Motherhood is not a one size fits all-what works for one family may not work for the next. So who are we to judge another mom’s choices or reasoning? Being a mom is hard enough and if all the following make me a “bad mom” then I’ll gladly wear it proudly! Here’s to all the bad moms out there. Follow @badmomconfessions to submit a confession or read other anonymous mothers’ spills! @todayshow @goodmorningamerica @theviewabc @thetalkcbs @theellenshow

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“I’ve learned that the true ‘bad moms’ out there are the ones who constantly tear other moms down by judging them," Cooper wrote. “Those moms are the ones who are truly insecure and have strong feelings of inadequacy because why else would they do that? Misery loves company.”

“There’s no one right way to parent or to be a mom,” she continued. “We all are running in the same race and doing the best that we can. Motherhood is not a one size fits all — what works for one family may not work for the next. So who are we to judge another mom’s choices or reasoning?”

Cooper’s post is an important call for compassion.

Sure, nobody should ignore clear signs of child abuse or neglect, but it’s important to remember that buying into societal notions of what a “good mom” should be is damaging.

And it perpetuates the myth that a mother must be perfect — No wine! No swearing, ever! — to be considered adequate. And that kind of pressure can just lead to more problems.

As Cooper makes clear, “mom guilt” is real. But it doesn’t mean parents have to buy into it.

Think before you comment on someone’s parenting. And if you’ve been criticized? Just breathe, keep going, and continue living your life.

It’s working for Cooper. Why shouldn’t it work for you?

Photo courtesy of Yoplait
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I want to be able to finally see the beach, students wrote. I want to finally be able to see the snow.

Never having seen snow is understandable for Mendez's students, most who live in Inglewood, CA, just outside of Los Angeles. But never having been to the beach is surprising, since most of them only live 15-20 minutes from the ocean. Mendez discovered many of them don't even know how to swim.

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Mendez is in his third year of teaching physical education at View Park K-8 school, one of seven Inner City Foundation Education schools in the Los Angeles area. While many of his students are athletically gifted, Mendez says, they often face challenges outside of school that limit their opportunities. Some of them live in neighborhoods where it's unsafe to leave their houses at certain times of day due to gang activity, and many students come to his P.E. class with no understanding of why learning about physical health is important.

"There's a lot going on at home [with my students]," says Mendez. "They're coming from either a single parent home, or foster care. There's a lot of trauma behind what's going on at home...that is out of our control."

Photo courtesy of Yoplait

What Mendez can control is what he gives his students when they're in his care, which is understanding, some structure, and the chance to try new things. Mendez wakes up at 4:00 a.m. most days and often doesn't get home until 9:00 p.m. as he works tirelessly to help kids thrive. Not only does he run after school programs, but he coaches youth soccer on the weekends as well. He also works closely with other teachers and guidance counselors at the school to build strong relationships with students, and even serves as a mentor to his former students who are now in high school.

Now Mendez is earning accolades far and wide for his efforts both in and out of the classroom, including a surprise award from Yoplait and Box Tops for Education.

Yoplait and Box Tops are partnering this school year to help students reach their fullest potential, which includes celebrating teachers and programs that support that mission. Yoplait is committed to providing experiences for kids and families to connect through play, so teaming up with Box Tops provided an opportunity to support programs like STOKED.

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When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!