When Mothers Know Best, It’s The Worst


When you’re pregnant or a new mom, people like to bestow all kinds of useless advice on you. Pearls of wisdom like “enjoy every moment” or “sleep when the baby sleeps.”

Please. I don’t know much, but I have one piece of advice that I think might actually help some new mommies out there. This is what I sorely wish someone had said to me when that little one arrived: You Don’t Want to Be That Mother Who Knows Best.

I see you over there, Control Freak New Mommy. You’re just like I was, reading and Googling and list-making. You’re figuring that with all this knowledge you’ll know pretty much what the hell to do with your baby, but take it from this mentally exhausted, overwhelmed mom of five: you’re setting things up all wrong. Whether you have one or five babies, YOU DON’T WANT TO BE THE EXPERT. Here’s why:

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Let’s take a little trip down memory lane back to when I had my first baby. There we were, yours truly and my dear husband and our precious baby boy. The hubs was home from work for two weeks as we got settled, but I was generally the one caring for the baby. I spent more time with him and knew better what to do, you know what I mean? Plus I’d read all those nifty books!

So I would change him, and burp him, and feed him, and decide what he needed to do and when, and make all the little plans for his little life. If my husband picked the baby up, I’d usually give him some “helpful” pointers about how he was holding him wrong or burping him wrong and oh, now he’s crying…better give him back to me.

Now let’s fast forward, shall we, to last Saturday morning, chez moi.

Mommy wakes up (very early). She puts out breakfast because only she knows what the kids eat that day. Mommy tells the chitlins what to wear, because only she knows what they are doing that day (soccer), even though they have been playing soccer for two months. And only she knows where each kid’s soccer clothes are (including shin guards, cleats, uniforms).

Time to head out? Mommy crouches down tying all the shoelaces while Daddy catches up on the iPad because Daddy doesn’t get the kids ready because he doesn’t know all the ins and outs. Mommy hands Daddy the bag with the change of clothes, lunch and the water bottles. The kids are firing questions at Mommy and she’s fielding them like a catcher during bating practice.  “Can I do this?”  “Why did he get that?” It’s only 9 a.m. and you’re so drained from the excess of planning, details and decision-making that you’re ready to head back to bed.

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The afternoon?  Mommy’s spends her “downtime hour” answering emails from schools and coaches and teachers and PTA groups, all starting with the refrain “Just a friendly reminder!” Picking a library hour for each of her kids. Deciding which insipid birthday party we are going to have to go to and trying to find a creative way to lie her way out of at least some of them.  Oh, summer is around the corner — better start researching camps!  Meanwhile, the kids are parked in front of the TV, which leaves Mommy guilt-ridden …and what’s Daddy doing? Downloading music onto his iPod!

Oh wait, it’s time for dinner. Time to order the Saturday night pizza.  This is “Daddy’s job.” And even though we’ve ordered exactly the same pizza from the same restaurant every single Saturday night for around 6 years – that’s about 336 times – Daddy still waits for Mommy to TELL HIM to order the pizza and TELL HIM what type of pizza to order because she has trained him NOT TO MAKE ANY DECISION WHATSOEVER REGARDING THE KIDS.

So, who would you rather be? The 1-800 Call Center or the pinch hitter brought in to do the only task that is actually fulfilling as a parent: having fun with the kids?

I thought so. But if you aren’t careful, you’re going to turn out just like me. And if this happens to you, you might bitch and moan, sister, like almost all of us mommies, but fact of the matter is that it’s pretty much your fault.

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You told the hubs the second that baby came to let YOU be the one. You told him NOT to make the decisions, nor to sweat the details but rather to be instructed and guided by your wisdom at every turn. Now he’s been well trained, for years, in WAITING IN THE WINGS TO BE ASKED TO APPEAR.  Go Mom!

So STOP. Nip this baby in the bud. Stains, mismatched outfits, missed naps, unfinished bottles, leaking loose diapers, letting the baby watch TV on his lap while he downs a beer during the game …BRING IT ON.

Get the hell away from that baby and let Daddy do his messy, sloppy, imperfect, thing. He’s setting you up to be happier with every mis-hap. You might actually get a shot at enjoying something once in a while and having one moment’s peace.  And when you get home, zip your mouth shut and don’t say one single critical word when you see spit up on the carpet!!

I’m trying to change my ways, but I have to be honest, it’s too late for me. So I’m trying to save you.

You’ll thank me later.

Related post: Why I Won’t Get Divorced

About the writer

Melissa Lawrence aka Cloudmom is an un-recovering control freak, Mom of 5, and video blogger. You can find Melissa’s how to video guides for moms at www.cloudmom.com.


JJJanie 2 months ago

Yes! This! I wish I could share this with my husband, but he would only be offended by it.

Kimberly 2 months ago

This is a great article! I was feeling like this during the first few months after having our son, and I started getting resentful of my husband who would see me running around like a chicken with my head cut off while he just played on his phone. I had to stop and just tell him to do things. Now he still asks what should he feed him or things like that, and I just tell him to go with what he feels because I know that our son is in perfectly good hands. I got very sick this last weekend I was very thankful to my husband because he not only took care of our son but me as well.

Andrew Wilson 5 months ago

While I would like to send this article to my wife, even after three children, I do not think she would understand or agree. The article is spot on. Even now she sometimes wonders why I do not venture opinions on certain subjects. Each person has a limit to the number of time he can be scolded, “You are doing it wrong.”

Michelle (WonderMa) 6 months ago

You got us. You have given us great tip especially for new moms. I agree with you, husbands are like that. So I was like, “keep working on it. I should be more patient.” Life is too short to get stressed.

Javi 7 months ago

Works for the job place too… a former boss once told me, “Don’t make yourself or what you do indispensable, because you’ll never get promoted.”

Jaime 7 months ago

I’m just 2 weeks away from giving birth, so this comes at a great time because I WOULD BE that mom. I can be very particular and critical, so it’s going to take work to fight my ingrained urges. Thanks :)

Laura 7 months ago

This is the advice I always give new moms, too! When our baby was born, I had to leave the room when my husband changed diapers because I wanted to tell him he was doing it wrong. But I knew if I kept criticizing, I’d end up changing ALL the diapers. You don’t want to have to change all the diapers, I promise.

Liz 8 months ago

I’m the youngest of six and one thing I have learned from my siblings is to take the advice of others, especially your elders how have been there and done that. Being a new mom I have been doing everything you have said but I am going to change my ways this very minute, because I know it when I see it and this is good advice. So from a new mom to an experienced mom…THANK YOU!

Melissa Sullivan 8 months ago


Becky 8 months ago

There was a really great episode of Modern Family with Cam and Mitch reversing stay at home with Lily roles….basically the same type of situation…..love this

Amber 8 months ago

Thank you for writing this! My baby is 15 weeks old, and I feel like if I don’t rein it in now, I could be the same way. I keep telling myself that my husband is completely capable of taking care of our son without my constant input. I’m trying to believe it, but my tongue sure is sore from biting it so much! haha …But in all fairness he does a great job, and my son is a lucky little boy to have such a great dad!

Aimee 8 months ago

(Sorry for the double post)
We have a 3 year old that I have been a SAHM for her while life and we literally just sat down and talked about this exact same thing the other day because I have been overwhelmed with a threenager,school,housework,family social life ect. And he said then let me help you with her, I’m her dad I’ll keep her alive and fed and happy, I just won’t plan every minute of her day. (I’m a big planner, micromanager). It was the best conversation we have had.

Aimee 8 months ago

We have a 3 year old that I have been a SAHM for her while life and we literally just sat down and talked about this exact same thing the other day because I have been overwhelmed with a threenager,school,housework,social life

Heather 1 year ago

Yep, I fell into this trap and with 3 kids, I think I’m beyond saving as well, but this article really speaks the truth!

Mrs.Klein 1 year ago

God bless my mother for telling me this when I had my daughter. Now, my husband and I actually parent as a team and get to BOTH be the fun/not-fun parent sometimes.

Wendy 2 years ago

Somehow I knew that. And I kept my mouth shut. And my husband is as helpful as can be. And I think he enjoys it more than I do quite often. Of course he also gets to go to work. He doesn’t understand the value of a 20 minute commute in silence without small people in the backseat. I know where their shoes and clothes are and which food our son is more likely to eat at any given moment. But he fed both our kids FIRST. Because you know what? Forget the breast vs bottle debate. I actually straight up jus suck at formula feeding. I bet you didn’t even know that it’s possible to fail at bottle feeding but it is. It was the day after our son was born and I am still not as good as he is 8 weeks into our daughter’s life. Oh well.

Lillian Connelly 2 years ago

This is so true. We started out this way, but somehow around age 2 I figured it out and started leaving my husband and daughter alone. When he has a question I say, “Just do what you’d do if I wasn’t here.”

It goes beyond kids too. Like the other day my husband asked me where we keep the clean sheets.

Corie 2 years ago

This is 100% me! I breastfed our daughter and stayed home with her the first six months, so I micro managed the HECK out of my husband’s relationship with her. I never thought about it like this, but I’m slowly having him taking over more and more to improve their relationship. It’s working and my husband is happy because he’s closer to our daughter and I’M happy because I have to do less– even though it grates my nerves to send her to preschool in a mismatched outfit….

Candace 2 years ago

I planned to be a control freak… then I had an extremely difficult delivery and daddy had to do almost everything but nurse the baby. I guess it was a good thing, because 9 years and 3 kids later, hubs is VERY involved and I actually have somewhat of a life (I mean, I do have three kids and homeschool), but I do still manage to sleep in occasionally, do things outside of the house with friends, and read novels. So, yeah, your advice is good.

Natalie McCabe 2 years ago

Love this website!

Chris 2 years ago

So I scrolled down and though it’s possible that I missed a post, I didn’t see a single male name here. As a Dad on the receiving end of this post, I feel that males are demonized as lazy, non-task executing people who sit around on Apple products and have no sense of organization. Yes, I sit at my Apple products (AFTER A LONG DAY OF BRINGING HOME MONEY SO SHE DOESN’T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING BUT PLAY WITH OUR KIDS ALL DAY) and yes I order (cough, provide) the pizza on the metaphorical Saturday nights. I even let the mess pile up if my wife does, since I view the home front as her area of responsibility, and the work front/money making as my responsibility.

I feel that if you start to shirk off “home front” responsibilities and Dad starts coming home mentally exhausted to a kitchen counter completely overrun, dishwasher half full of clean dishes, washer and dryer full with no sorting, and that sort of thing… know this: Men are fixers. It’s what we do. If you have a problem, you bring it to our attention, we’ll provide our proposed solution. Men don’t talk to figure out how they feel. They talk to seek a solution from an alternate source. If we believe that talking will only result in a hostile wife, eventually one of two things will likely happen.

1. Dad will do what men view as the honorable thing when faced with hostility towards a woman: They establish a safe zone “ie. man cave” where the kids aren’t allowed in to destroy his efforts. This results in reduction of communication between husband and wife; never a good thing.

2. Dad will become increasingly hostile each time he has to do additional work that he views as additional to his primary job. Eventually as the article states, he will take over the responsibilities mom is neglecting. However, this cause him to work all day, and then come to resent the wife for not doing what he feels is her fair share during the work week.

I considered writing an anti-chauvinistic counter-rebuttal here, but I feel I’ve expended enough time on this random topic with my Apple product.

A husband who didn’t agree with demonizing males as the solution to marriage.

    Jennifer 2 years ago

    So which is it? Does your wife “play with the kids all day” or does she do housework and take care of their needs? I’m the primary breadwinner in my family, but I can’t imagine shirking my parental/home responsibilities because I make the money. When does your partner get to play on her apple product?

    Honestly, I consider being at work all day, around other adults, to BE a break. Taking care of children is immensely tiring and time-consuming. Being at work for eight plus hours a day is a comparative cake-walk.

    Mrs.Klein 1 year ago

    Did you actually read the article? She hardy demonizes the fathers/husbands, but says that she felt that it was HER fault for micromanaging.
    And here’s another solution to the issues you listed:
    TALK TO YOUR PARTNER. And if you can’t have a conversation about what’s going on in the household, you’re not enough of an adult to be married. Acted passive aggressive and shitty is hardly going to fix anything.

Jennifer Weldon Lyons 2 years ago

I definitely need this!

Laura Lewinski 2 years ago

I really don’t like the image of Dad as imperfect, sloppy and messy-it’s an annoying stereotype that I read about often in these “Mommy Blogs”. Sounds more like Mom is a complete control freak. So Dad does it different-doesn’t make it “not right”.

Daniel 2 years ago

I find this awesome advice. My wife works and I am the stay at home dad for the time being. I handle a lot of the items described above and wife pretty much just plays with the kids (when she isn’t working or working towards being a doctor). I will admit, things don’t get done around the house very fast, but they do get done. Slowly training the kids to take care of some of the tasks too.

Oh, as a comment, if the father had his game on like I do, he’d be taking care of the kids and still be downloading stuff on his iPod. Just sayin’.

Scott 2 years ago

Seriously good advice… I remember feeling unqualified to do just about anything because whatever I did, it wasn’t wrong or not quite the way she did it. My wife was trying to help but in turn she made me feel like a clumsy oaf unqualified to bounce a boy on my lap dare I ever want t work up to a trip to the park. After a few months on difficulty I found a decent time to ask if any of her books had discovered when and why husbands who were once quite capable become incompetent children themselves… practical fools who couldn’t be trusted with the simplest of things without tiger mom telling them what to do. (It came out much better… at least less blunt since I’m here typing about it today 😉 but it really got her thinking) SHE was worried about not being a good parent so she did what she thought she could to prevent it… instead she set herself up for more stress and “control” she didn’t want and honestly couldn’t handle solo (sort of the beauty of a 2 parent family… nobody has to “know best” you just have to help each other. .

We made it real simple as new parents… if it’ was a matter of health and safety, by all means tell me how you want something done, and don’t hesitate from telling me “I’m doing it wrong” but if it’s a matter of preference and nobody’s short or long term health and safety is at stake; shut up, leave the room or find another way to deal… it was important to learn how to let things happen differently than you’d do them… unless you want to be permanently responsible for doing everything for everyone.

We broke the cycle by the time our twins came thank God but for any new moms out there, don’t get on this cycle. Your man will appreciate not being mothered like a child and if you appreciate a father who wants to be involved, who wants to take the kids to the park and who doesn’t want to look at you and feel belittled or disrespected save yourself a whole lot of trouble and don’t sweat the small stuff. Remember, most of it is small stuff

Kelly Phillips 2 years ago

This isn’t just a tactic to get him to help with the kids, it’s a way to have a better marriage. Criticism can become a habit and starts wearing a spouse down so they stop trying. “No matter what I do, it’s never good enough. Why try anymore?” And it’s not just a wife thing – both spouses can get into the criticism habit. The next time you find yourself criticizing, try appreciating instead. It works wonders in a marriage.

Elly Rosen Spiewak 2 years ago

If you just let the fathers in on everything from the beginning you will train them faster to help out and not just stand on the side lines while you do it all! The laugh is on those moms who think they know it all!

Drakkar Noir 2 years ago

Sorry guys but one of my beggest ‘pet peevs’ is grown ass men who play video games………how do U women allow that? Video games T for kids
Anyway, I wd wait until my husband left before going over the “cleaning” he presumably did, not much, but enough to make me happy…..lol…….VERY IMPORTANT ADVICE

Judy Cem 2 years ago

Yeah it’s too late for me too…

Trippy 2 years ago

But yesterday after toddler made a giant mess in the bathroom i thought – okay, this time I’ll volunteer to clean up the mess (usually husband’s job) and let husband dress him up in sleep clothes. I called my husband and said “can you dress him up please?”

After 5 mins or so of cleaning the bathroom, I go out and see my son running around butt naked, wet and giggling, while my husband is on the iPad.


Angel Blake 2 years ago

I read this and the first thing through my mind was Where The Hell Was This Advice When I Was Having Kids! I sure wish I knew this back then. The one thing I will make sure of is that my daughters know it!

Katie | The Surly Housewife 2 years ago

Amen! Great advice that all moms should be required to read before they leave the hospital. Well done!

Bill 2 years ago

I like your atricle. I disagree with one part.

> And if this happens to you…it’s pretty much your fault. You told the hubs the second that baby came to let YOU be the one. You told him NOT to make the decisions, nor to sweat the details but rather to be instructed and guided by your wisdom at every turn. <

A Dad would have to go along with this. If he opted out of parenting by agreeing to such, he would share the blame. I never experienced such treatment but can say with certainty that if I had, I would not have agreed to it. Nothing could have kept me from actively parenting my kids.

Thanks for the wisdom, still.

Nicole 2 years ago


Diana Taylor Preston 2 years ago

My kid texted me while I was at a concert to ask me to order pizza. My husband was home.

Joye Moore 2 years ago

Best piece of advice I ever got was my mom telling me not to criticize the way my hubs was caring for our newborn (she’s 12 now) because he wasn’t doing things the “right” way (i.e. MY way). She said keep on fussing and complaining and correcting and he will quit trying! That made me shut up quick!!!

Wanda Olugbala 2 years ago

Spot. On. Literally.

Olivia Christensen 2 years ago

I have two-a toddler and a baby….is it too late to fix this mistake? Haha seriously important advice!

Simi Tolani Shukla 2 years ago

Totally my type a fault

Erin Kumor 2 years ago

This is great advice I struggle with my partner and his “help”. It’s fantastic that he does help and wants to but I get the “perfect mum” hat on and try to fix his attempts such as when he does the girls hair. I am learning to relax and appreciate his efforts for what it is. I hope it’s not too late for us :-)

Jeanne Fulk 2 years ago


Holly Walton 2 years ago

I have my specific things (I prepare most of our daughter’s food, because I’m careful with the seasonings and it being as organic/GMO-free as possible), but my husband does a LOT for the baby. He feeds her, changes her, dresses her, bathes her, plays with her; anything she needs, he can do. I can’t imagine a better dad. We’re able to tag-team everything, and it’s awesome.

Nicole Francisca 2 years ago

Jep. So True. Ik did it all wrong the first time round. Stay at home mom of three and exhausted at the end of every day while dad came home, fell asleep on the couch and only lifted his but when dinner was served.
Second time around,New hubs, new baby (my fourth lovely little humpy), I learned from my mistakes and am now enjoying to see them having so much fun together changing,bottling, burping and playing.

John Hart 2 years ago

I really liked this

Jane Graham 2 years ago

My husband does half of everything!!! He’s great at it. Children need both parents.

Marilyn Jolliffe 2 years ago

Great article! Funny….but wistful,too………

Beth Buchanan 2 years ago

our daughter is now 5 days old and from the beginning he’s helped out. We tag team her feedings-shes bottlefed due to my health. He does everything and more to help out. We’re learning parenting together even though my mommy instincts sometimes try to take over I let them take a backseat and enjoy watching my hubby with my daughter.

Monica Durr Buckalew 2 years ago

Best advice ever! Shane has been such a good daddy, and I let him!

Tracy 2 years ago

Question I’m ” that mom” but not by choice my kids dad is gone most of the time with his work ( truck driver) witch allows me to be the stay at home parent I do leave him to his own vices when he is here with the kids but as they (twins) are my fris and second and his second and thired is it a bad thing that the twins freek out when he does get the “daddy” time and mommy takes a brake??????

Jessica Kassar 2 years ago

Please…I have 2 and I’m exhausted! I work nights and take care of my 2 & 4 year olds all day. I understand what she is saying here! Moms, let the dad’s do more things with/for the kids . It promotes bonding and lets dads feel more involved. Maybe they will actually volunteer sometimes! New mom’s should take this advice if they they choose.

Josh Aleshire 2 years ago

Sorry i not the perfect parent

Lisa Brookover Moore 2 years ago

So true!!!

Eli Hudson 2 years ago

Wish I read this 3 years ago.

Michelle Molinari 2 years ago

Love it!

Stephanie Salehi 2 years ago

I wish I had read this 7 years ago!!

Carole Lynch 2 years ago


Monica Renee Rutland 2 years ago

I completely disagree with this. Children need stability. Being mothers it is OUR job to provide that stability! It is OUR job to teach our children how to be organized! If we allow the man in the household to take over and us be LAZY then we aren’t doing the jobs intended by nature! Thr only reason most mothers feel run down is because a lot of people don’t know what to stop having children. Congrats on a huge family but it was your decision to do that. I have one child. I do EVERYTHING that you do along with going to work and going to college but I have set that path for my life. Look at the animal kingdom. Look at lions…and I’m not talking simba and mufasa….the lioness raises and teaches her young in all the ways of nature including how to raise their own young! Stop and think before you throw nature out of a loop.

Suzette Luna 2 years ago

I couldn’t agree more! Although it’s in our nature to try to control EVERYTHING especially when it comes to out babies, your husband is there for many reasons and that is one. To give you a break, so take it!

Karen Helm 2 years ago

My husband wasn’t trained by me but I have to direct him to do things. It gets draining and annoying. I wish he’d just step up some days.

Ackerman Mikasa 2 years ago

As a new Mommy who already has control freak issues, I’m gad to have read this. I will officially be a Mommy on October 31st ish. Thank you for showing me this. <3

Alison Johnston 2 years ago


Katie Barnes Webb 2 years ago

Guilty. This actually made me think a lot. Haha.


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