Certified personal trainer and mom of two Sia Cooper is no stranger to her posts going viral—and, in turn, attracting plenty of shaming. Cooper, who blogs at Diary of a Fit Mommy, made headlines back in 2016 for her intense workouts and having six-pack abs while pregnant. And her fitness routine isn't the only thing that has gotten tongues wagging. Just like many moms in the spotlight, she's been slammed for, well, just about everything.
"Over the past few years and times that I have gone viral, I have been judged for my parental decisions and role as a mother," Cooper tells Parents.com "My 'a-ha' moment came last week when I posted a soup recipe and got criticized for using plastic crock-pot liners and canned goods and feeding my kids the soup. It was the last straw, and I had enough! So, I decided to own all the criticism, wearing it loud and proud."
Cooper took to Instagram to share a now-viral post, in which she explores the "bad mom" label. "If I had a nickel for every time I’ve been called a 'bad mom,' I would be soooo rich!" she wrote. "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."
She goes onto explain that she's been called a "bad mom" for working 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."
The experience has lead the Florida-based mom to conclude that the real "bad moms" 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."
Cooper's bottom-line: "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."
The response to Cooper's post has been nothing short of incredible. Since speaking her piece, her post has racked up more than 23K likes and over a thousand comments. "So many moms came together to share their own 'bad mom moments' and criticisms that they have received and how they wanted to join the 'bad mom' club by standing up to their own haters," Cooper shares.
Among her favorite responses: One commenter wrote, "I’m not a mom yet but I’d say working out while in Target is called productivity & if canned goods and plastic crock pot liners are out then I’m screwed," while another said, "I appreciate you writing this! I feel judged everyday being a mother too. If we Just keep inspiring those around us im sure we can make a little difference empowering woman and the world would be a better place."
As for any negative feedback, the proud "bad mom" isn't taking it personally. In fact, she sees what has happened to her as a symptom of our social media age. "People have access to talk to whomever they want and to comment on anything in the world," she notes. "People are not as friendly when they are borderline anonymous so this is when it is easy to throw around nasty judgments and harsh assumptions. I also feel that this day in age, social media puts pressure on moms to compare themselves to one another based off of what they may see on their newsfeeds or someone's profile."
Her words of wisdom for other moms who feel shamed online or off? "Do not forget that you are doing what works for YOUR family!"
Cooper also encourages anyone who is grappling with that "bad mom" label to head over to her new Instagram account @BadMomConfessions. She says, "I have had many moms send in anonymous confessions and use [the site] as an outlet for venting!" Cheers to bad moms bonding together!