Her Bad Mother

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Heaven Can Wait

I've got nothing against Christians. Heck, I've been one. I might even tell you that I am one - albeit a conflicted one - if you press me in my more emotional/less philosophic moments. And you might even, sometimes, hear me say that I think that Christians get an bad rap in popular discourse, that they are often unfairly characterized as being uniformly evangelical and extremist and narrow-minded and illiberal and collectively ignorant and all sorts of terrible things that good liberals pretty much never say about anyone else anymore.

So, no, I don't want any part of bitch-slapping the faithful just because I've got my own issues about organized religion. But that doesn't mean that I'm going to check my brain at the door when I wander into a klatsche of Christian women talking about who gets to go heaven and am invited to share my thoughts on the issue. Hence the emergence of - what did I call her? - my pissy inner bizatch the other day when I received an e-mail suggesting that I write a post about Ten Reasons Why I Believe That All Moms Go To Heaven.

My immediate reaction? Why, I do think that I shall write a post about Ten Reasons Why All Moms Will NOT Go To Heaven. And, perhaps, too, Ten Reasons Why, If There Is A Special Corner Of Heaven For Mothers, I Do Not Want To Spend Eternity There.

But when I said as much in my last post, I received this comment: "Oh My...such hate for awesome Mom's (sic) who break their back (sic) everyday to do the best they can for their kids."

Let's clear this up right now: I'm not hating on moms, nor on Christian moms, nor on Christians in general or anyone else who insists upon wearing a halo on their ball cap when I say, again, that I am pretty certain that NOT ALL MOTHERS are going to heaven (if there is, in fact, a heaven, which is still something that I am not completely certain of). Because, as I said last day, I can rhyme off a pretty long list of some good ol' evil mothers pretty quickly. And, there's this whole issue that I have about the distinct possibility that I will not be going to heaven (also, where are all the Jewish mothers going? How can I work it so that I can go with them?)

But that's beside the point. Let's imagine, for a moment, that there is a special corner of Heaven for mothers, and that by 'mother' we are (as my anonymous commenter insisted) referring specifically to good women who love their children and not all those other nasty breeders who have given birth but not earned the holy title of Mother for some reason or another. Are you imagining with me? Good.

Now, let's see: Ten Reasons Why I Do Not Want To Spend Eternity In Mother-Heaven:

1) There's probably no liquor.

2) And probably no half-naked dancing boys, either.

3) I really don't look good in a halo, the lovely sparkly bits notwithstanding.

4) Also, those wings look heavy, and I have back problems.

5) I can't sing, and I'm guessing that there's a choir.

6) Is it really just going to be mothers? Is George Clooney a mother? No? Then, no.

7) Have I mentioned about my suspicion that there will be no liquor?

8) Or my suspicion that if there is liquor, it will just be wine coolers?

9) It's just not a party if Medea and Sylvia Plath and the Borgia women and Anna Nicole and all the other evil or fallen or impious or otherwise bad mothers of history aren't there, and I'm geussing that they're not going (even if good ol' Sylvia made her kids some sandwiches before sticking her head in that oven, I'm pretty sure that 'preparing lunch' doesn't make up for 'killing self and leaving children to be raised by Ted Hughes and his lovers' in the Christian sin calculus.)

And Reason Number 10 Why I Do Not Want To Go To Mother Heaven: because heaven, my friends, is a place on earth:

It's a baby in a sugar bush, dancing to George and Alice Potter's Old Tyme Jug Band...

... while clutching a wee creamer.

I've got my own Heaven, thankyouverymuch, and even if it is a bit hellish at times, I'll take an Eternal Return to this place over Mommy Paradise, any day.

(Oooh, baby, do you know what that's worth?!)


Blogger Sarah said...

Ha! Especially the wine coolers. Sarah

12:52 PM  
Blogger merseydotes said...

They probably don't watch football in the Moms Corner of heaven, either. Count me out!

1:25 PM  
Blogger Miguelita said...

APPLAUSE!!! Great post.

I have been out of the loop a bit but am catching up. Glad all turned out to not be what it might have been last week.

Aaah. Wonderbaby continues to enchant.

1:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interestingly enough, I wrote about heaven on my previous post (not the one that's up there now), but it's not nearly as nice in tone as yours. Do the children pick up their own clothes and wash them in heaven? If so...I'll consider showing up.

1:38 PM  
Blogger Nanette said...

Funny! Us mom's in a group with alcohol could just get way too out of hand! Maybe purgatory would be better? ;-)

1:41 PM  
Blogger MrsEvilGenius said...


1:57 PM  
Blogger Laural Dawn said...

I love that picture of WB. I think it's my favourite.
And, all the deeper stuff you wrote about. Thanks for making me think. As usual.

1:58 PM  
Blogger Mimi said...

Dammit, now it's gonna be Belinda Carlisle in my head all day. For that you are denied into heaven, if on no other grounds.

Wine coolers. Shudder.

Ok. This business of 'all moms go to heaven' just strikes me as infantilising, t-shirt slogany all cute-like. I hate cute-like. As a recovering catholic I know that the promise of afterlife reward is usually dangled in front of those who can expect to be treated like shit in this world.

To whit:
* insufficient daycare
* poor work supports
* wildly inequitable distribution of household labour
* lotta guilt, little help
* lotta judgment, little empathy

I'm just saying. I'll take sugar bush and Belinda Carlisle over saintly self-denial and the promise of later reward. Any day.

2:05 PM  
Blogger Avalon said...

I don't really want to go to Heaven. I just want a nap. I've been at this mothering business for 23 years and I'm tired. I bet in Heaven, it's all about the perkiness.

Besides, since I don't really like most people here on Earth, I doubt I will do much improving in Heaven, so I'd probably get kicked out shortly after arrival.

2:15 PM  
Blogger crazymumma said...

ooohhhh. funny post.

I don't want to go to mummy heaven because I do not think they would let me have my personal trainer.

2:17 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

Oh now see, I am 100% with you. I almost congratulated you on your last post, because I loved it so, however I think I got lost in my wine that night. The though of wine coolers being the only alcohol makes me a bit twitchy.

Not being a Christian and having many issues with organized religion myself, I do not believe in Heaven. Or hell for that matter. And I sure as fuck do not believe that all mothers go to some "special heaven." I can name a bunch of moms who wouldn't be going. The whole thing bothers me and shit, I don't even have a blog anymore. If there is a heaven and a hell, it is most likely on earth. And WB dancing with a creamer, or my girls teaching an older woman how to bend her knees on skiis, seems like heaven to me. Anyhow, I'll leave now, but yet again, you rock!

2:21 PM  
Blogger SciFi Dad said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:29 PM  
Blogger SciFi Dad said...

Easier method to prove not all mothers are heaven bound.
1. Go to http://news.google.com/
2. Type in mother in search box
3. Read.

I have feeds set up to notify me of any news that mentions a mother (or a father, parent, child, family) for blogging purposes. Let me tell you, there are a lot of moms doing a lot of nasty stuff.

2:30 PM  
Blogger toyfoto said...


I got one of those memes, too and I immediately sighed and tossed it, as i often do with the suggested bloggy tidbits that particular site tries to get people to write about and then link up.

But in that case I really wanted to rail against the idea itself. I'm glad you did.

2:47 PM  
Blogger Blog Antagonist said...


I could have written your post, but it wouldn't have been nearly as eloquent.

Well said. I agree wholeheartedly.

2:55 PM  
Blogger Blog Antagonist said...


I could have written your post, but it wouldn't have been nearly as eloquent.

Well said. I agree wholeheartedly.

2:55 PM  
Blogger Motherhood Uncensored said...

Are there dildos in heaven? That's all I'm asking.

3:01 PM  
Blogger Lara said...

i gotta say something too, for my own selfish purposes. i think in some ways this can be linked to the "mommy blogosphere." do you really want a community of mommy-bloggers and ONLY mommy-bloggers? do you really want to exclude someone who may have significant contributions to make, even though her uterus may as yet be untested? i'm not necessarily going to claim this is just about me, nor will i claim that i deserve to be welcomed into any community because i am Just. That. Cool. but exclusionary groups become so by closing themselves off to potentially amazing additions.

wouldn't a special mommy heaven be doing that same thing?

3:09 PM  
Blogger Crunchy Carpets said...

can you spend all day in Heaven wearing gold fish pajama bottoms and eating things you tell your kids are bad for them?

3:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wine coolers?

I want an eternity with an open bar.

3:41 PM  
Blogger Julie Pippert said...

Damn you!

This is the second time today I have had to say that to a blogger!

And why, pray tell, am I saying it to you?


For sure there is hell on earth, too. ;)

Okay. Let's see. Oooh I know.

"And they whirled and they twirled and they tangoed,
Singin’ and jingin’ the jango,
Floatin’ like the heavens above
It looks like muskrat love."

Revenge is SWEET. ;)

And see? That right there? Is yet one more reason (beyond what I blogged) why I am just not so sure even good enough moms like me will be *for sure* going to Heaven. ;)

Listen, I think mom is a cool job, an awesome responsibility and thing to get to do---however you do it.

It brings a lot of things, but sainthood isn't one.

I get that this was just a little goofy funny free marketing thing. I saw the email too. It didn't strike me until I saw some discussion of it. Now...hmmm. A little troubled, to be sure.

More importantly, that is one cute dancing baby.

4:30 PM  
Blogger Beck said...

One mother I know sat back and watched while her boyfriend broke every. single. bone. in her child's body. And yet she was still a mother... To say that reproducing magically makes someone a good person is, um, theologically unsound. And I say this as a rather devout person.

4:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WTF? Isn't it a tad presumptuous to declare that all moms should go to heaven?? Wait!! That's probably where the sanctimommies end up! Ack!

4:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The thing about the post referenced at Crazy Hip Bloggin' Mommas is that it makes the assumption that heaven is a place where all moms go simply because they gave birth.

Not once does it mention any religious background nor does it give any explanation about what each person's definition of heaven is.

Aside from that, how do any of us really know? Why debate why a mom or anyone automatically goes to heaven when she leaves this Earth, when we could be discussing things we have control over.

Like recycling aluminum, or what to watch on TV, or how many drinks to have at dinner, or who's going to BlogHer?


4:37 PM  
Blogger gingajoy said...

And, uh, lest we forget. The whole All Moms Go To Heaven site is actually about selling stuff with that leetle logo on it. Not that there's anything *wrong* with that per se, but I'm just sayin' that it's also all about selling religion and all that crap like WWJD T's that drives me assnuts.

That commenter just got you wrong. She didn't get the gist of your post at all (or how much work you actually do to celebrate what mothers do. OK, I'll get my nose out of your bum crack now, though it smells so sweet....)

4:58 PM  
Blogger vasilisa said...

That was quite provacative on a few levels. I agree with you. I wouldn't want to go into heaven with just moms.

Among other reasons, I'd like some dads in there, some kids and some so far single friends. Not to mention that there are certain moms I wouldn't want to be in company with. And let's be honest, there are some moms that should rightfully go to hell...

But also: I'm not Christian. I don't believe in heaven. But heaven and Christianity are such a mainstream things around here, that things like this often make me feel like a weirdo that doesn't fit in. So if there was a heaven for moms, I wouldn't get there anyways.

Oh, well...

5:05 PM  
Blogger Kristina said...

Love, love, love posts that get me laughing and crying all at the same time. Thanks.

And wine coolers? Do people really like those things?

5:12 PM  
Blogger Lynanne said...

AMEN! err....I mean, excellent post!! :)

6:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If there are no Naked Dancing Gals and rivers flowing with wine, you can count me out....of course seeing as I'm an Atheist I doubt I'd be welcome there anyway. I'll just set up shop in the first circle of Hell with Virgil and company and party non-stop.

6:37 PM  
Blogger Bon said...

the saccharine content of the "all moms go to heaven" concept is just waaaay too high, and kinda icky. yay us! pass the donuts, and let's not think. an eternity of that and i'd have to kill myself.

plus, as you mentioned, there's the no George Clooney issue...

6:52 PM  
Blogger motherbumper said...

Okay, I haven't read all the other comments yet but I'm sure someone has already said this: Well done on working Belinda Carlisle in there. Now I got that song stuck in my head - way better than "The Wheels on the Bus". Thank you.

7:31 PM  
Blogger motherbumper said...

As per Mom Heaven - you know I'd never make it in to that club.

7:36 PM  
Blogger Lawyer Mama said...

Sing it, sister! Um, I mean friend. Sing it, friend.

I can't believe in a heaven where there is no alcohol. Mommies or not.

7:40 PM  
Blogger liz said...

I thought I would be all clever and say "AMEN!" but that's been done.
So, to this I say: TESTIFY!
Wine coolers? Fuggedaboudit. This Mommy at least needs gin.

8:03 PM  
Blogger moplans said...

Ug wine coolers. I must work harder to make sure I do not to get in.

Sweet little Wonderbaby!

8:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey there--
This is a great post HBM.

8:28 PM  
Blogger S said...

(even if good ol' Sylvia made her kids some sandwiches before sticking her head in that oven, I'm pretty sure that 'preparing lunch' doesn't make up for 'killing self and leaving children to be raised by Ted Hughes and his lovers' in the Christian sin calculus.)


You are one bad-ass HBM. And I love it.

8:57 PM  
Blogger 11111111 said...

I go out drinking with moms and some of them can drink me under the table. Definitely would have to have liquor.

8:59 PM  
Blogger nuttnbunny said...

Isn't there a movie on this topic?

Oh, sorry. That was "All DOGS Go to Heaven".

8:59 PM  
Blogger karengreeners said...


9:02 PM  
Blogger Mad said...

OK, I am still reeling that someone criticized you for that last post. I'm here to ask that you join me at the single malt scotch bar in this little slice of imperfect heaven I call earth.

9:05 PM  
Blogger karengreeners said...

oh yeah, that has been done a few times. So, uh, good job, and holy smokes, wb is adorable. love the 'do.

9:06 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This strikes me as funny, because the only other person I read who has done this meme is an atheist! Ha ha.

My biggest problem with this meme is you would be hard-pressed to get this thing moving in the daddy blogs. What does that mean to me? That women are still expected to proudly martyr themselves for a pittance (entrance into a place that may or may not exist). A little too Victorian for me. :)

But I was criticized the last time I gave a thoughtful (though critical) response to a moms meme, so I am glad no one tagged me with this one.

9:34 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

Okay I'm trackin' with you on this, but I wouldn't totally rule out the possibility of alcohol in heaven. There was that whole water into wine miracle. So if any of us do get there(not the weird mommy heaven or hell or wherever it is that does not include George Clooney) from what I hear Jesus dishes out the good stuff.

10:07 PM  
Blogger Chicky Chicky Baby said...

No half naked dancing boys or booze? Count me out.

10:36 PM  
Blogger Girlplustwo said...

oh, hallelujah for the half naked dancing boys.

Bad, you hater, you.


10:49 PM  
Blogger mo-wo said...

Oh my gawd.. precious WB. I never use the word precious but the wee creamer knocked me over.

2:25 AM  
Blogger dodo said...

amen to all that. plus, i can't really stand to spend an entire afternoon with a roomful of other mothers - oftentimes its my idea of the Other Place

4:00 AM  
Blogger JChevais said...

Hear hear!

who wants to spend eternity with a bunch of usedteruses... ;-)

No George Clooney and no liquor? No way!

4:37 AM  
Blogger Suebob said...

Unlike others, I think heaven might be a place on earth...imagine if we all worked, all the time, to make each other happy. I don't know if that would be heaven...but it would be a good start.

9:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reason #1 is enough to convince me :o)

9:17 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Loved this post - loved the pics of Wonder Baby - so cute! have to agree with the other commenter - Jesus did drink quite a bit of wine himself - or at least do a bit of passing out the wine - so I think there will be wine in heaven. Not so sure about beer though.

9:19 AM  
Blogger Run ANC said...

Yeeeaah...if this heaven only has wine coolers, then you can count me OUT.

11:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yer such a trouble maker Catherine. BWHAHAHA!

I love it. I don't want to go to heaven with those twits either.

Especially if there is no booze, no half naked men (or any men at all) and required singing.

Cuz my ears bleed when I sing.

And girl, puh-leeeeez squeeze that child of yours and give her a big wet kiss on the small of her neck and tell her it's from some redneck out west.

11:08 AM  
Blogger BOSSY said...

Bossy loves this post. And Bossy doesn't really want to end up in mom heaven either - or for that matter join any club that would have her as a member.

11:34 AM  
Blogger NotSoSage said...

Heaven: No liquor. Maple sugar?

Earth: Maple sugar AND liquor.

I know what wins in my book. Even if there are no half-naked dancing men in either place for me.

11:36 AM  
Blogger Namito said...

Oh yeah. TESTIFY grrl.

I love your heaven. The wee creamer in that luscious little fist...sweeet.

12:06 PM  
Blogger m said...

Just as I can't be friends with someone just because they have a used uterus, I don't want to be in eternity with a group of women because of the same reason.

Plus, and especially plus, as you said, if no George Clooney, then it just wouldn't be heaven, will it?

12:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ooooh, I forgot about how Sylvia won't be there.

And wine coolers? Maybe if I were still a sophomore in high school.

Hell it is!

12:59 PM  
Blogger Claire Cameron said...

Ah, wee creamers. Have I got a stories about those...

1:21 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

It really is here and now, isn't it?

Lucky us, wouldn't you say.

4:18 PM  
Blogger kittenpie said...

I thought all DOGS went to heaven? And, um, I'm not a dog person. Nor do I think I want to hang with no one but mommies for all eternity because you know, I love you blogmamas and all, but I'd hate for that to be all... Especially if they were the kind of mommyies who revelled in slogan-y, pat-on-the-back-y stuff like this. Blech.

4:22 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

I'm pretty positive they wouldn't let me say fuckety fuck in the heaven these ladies are selling.

But I know the heaven I'm heading to has my dad up there dropping F-bombs with George Harrison and JFK.

Great post!

5:01 PM  
Blogger ewe are here said...

Yes. George Clooney is a necessity. And Kyle Chandler.

And, embarrassed to admit, way back when when I was in college, I liked wine coolers.
But not anymore!

5:03 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

I just love our little liberal, theological questioning, critical thinking corner of the mommyblogosphere.

Where the wine always flows, the writers are top-notch, and the children, with apologies to M. Keillor, are above average.

6:21 PM  
Blogger Ruth Dynamite said...

Amen and hallelujah!

6:22 PM  
Blogger Maggie said...

You know, I saw the contest, and I actually thought - why would I want to go to *heaven* when it's right here with Moppet (sometimes disguised as hell, though). But then I decided that it was too corny a thought to write about and dropped the whole idea.

But your post is perfect - and actually makes the thought sound un-corny in my head. Thank you!

9:31 PM  
Blogger flutter said...

Can you please change your name to "Her Bad-ass Mother?"

that is all, thank you.

10:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lovely rebuttal :)

and wine coolers?? bleh.

12:16 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

1. I thought I was part of the Crazy Hip Mama ring and I *never* get invited to these parties. I must not be hip enough.

2. I agree with ever single stinkin' word you said.

12:36 AM  
Blogger Kris Underwood said...

Yes, lovely post. I would agree that Medea et. al. certainly would not be there. Or (insert hot actor guy). What would be the fun in that? And no drinks? Certainly wouldn't be any of those, because good mommies don't drink.... Pfft.

10:00 AM  
Blogger Pendullum said...


2:15 PM  
Blogger Jo said...

Every fundie Christian I've ever met (not the normal ones but the ones you want to run over a few times) has already informed me that I am going to hell so no list is going to save me now.

"6) Is it really just going to be mothers? Is George Clooney a mother? No? Then, no."

LMAO. I think I'd only go if I got a written promise that Josh Holloway/Sawyer from LOST is going to be there and will be my sex slave!

3:08 PM  
Blogger GIRL'S GONE CHILD said...

I love you. Amen. Totally. Yes and YES.

3:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I liked you before. Now I love you.

Can I please go where you're going? I've always maintained that most of the interesting people don't make the cut anyway.

7:42 PM  
Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said...

I've met way too many moms who I can barely spend an hour with, never mind all of eternity. Pull up a seat at wherever you'll be and I'll stop in and have a drink.

7:42 PM  

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