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:

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.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

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.

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.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

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


The Scary Mommy Community is built on support. If your comment doesn't add to the conversation in a positive or constructive way, please rethink submitting it. Basically? Don't be a dick, please.

  1. Jess says

    Best. Advice. Ever! I’m a new mom to a 4 month old and have been trying very hard to not instruct my husband on all things baby. We have alternating work schedules; when he works I’m home and when I work he’s home, so he gets plenty of baby time anyway, but I’m going to make a mental note to back the f@&^ off….thanks!

    Show Replies
  2. Hailey says

    Hahaha I live this!!! It’s is so true!!!!! Unfortunately I’m right down that road with you. I wish I would have not done/did everything myself and had/have to have everything done my way. Great advice :)

    Show Replies
  3. Sha Woo says

    This is so true!! I watched a friend do this with her baby and I learned real quick that a loose diaper is not that big of a deal. I let my husband makes his mistakes and we were all better for it.

    Show Replies
  4. Marie30 says

    True story! Also a mom of five, they were wearing me out so I started to hand over the ropes more and more with each baby. Dh is great now! Perfect advice every mom to be should read!

    Show Replies
  5. Wendy says

    Oh my, you just described my life! I have four and unfortunately I have done this! I changed diapers, got up through the night, dressed kids, helped with homework, signed papers, etc. and although I love my kids and doing for them but I wish I would have let go a little.

    Show Replies
    • Melissa Lawrence says

      Letting it go is the hardest thing! Thing is, when you allow everything to not be perfect, including yourself, it’s just so so much easier and less stressful!! xo Melissa

      Show Replies

Load More Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>