Does Mother Really Know Best?

Mother knows best!

This phrase really frustrates me. Like, really. It gets right under my skin, creeping and crawling through my nervous system and sending shivers down my spine. Ok, so maybe that’s a bit of an overreaction, but only a bit.

In general, when you apply it to the personality of your child, it rings true…although maybe primary caregiver knows best is more of an accurate turn of phrase. Not all children have their mother as their primary caregiver. They might live with their father, another member of their family, and they might be adopted or in the care system. There are a number of reasons why Mother might not be number 1.

If you are the primary caregiver, then you are more likely to know the best ways to settle your child if he/she is upset or refusing to sleep. You are more likely to know the song that never fails to get them singing and dancing, and the story that will get them to sit down and unwind for more than just a couple of minutes. In that case then yes, ‘mother’ (meaning primary caregiver) knows best.

What really gets my goat is when this phrase is thrown around willy nilly just as an excuse. There are certainly situations when mothers really don’t know best.

In a previous post, I spoke about my love/hate relationship with parenting groups on Facebook. Who needs Jeremy Kyle when you have constant access to posts on weaning, lazy boyfriends, smoking during pregnancy, and cot bumpers? Some of the women on these groups are either just out to troll people, never got taught manners, or are just generally so fricking arrogant that they think they know better than everyone else.

I was reading a post about weaning recently, and one comment really stuck with me. The poster was asking about what age they could start giving their child proper meals rather than just tastes. As you can probably imagine, there was rather a wide range of opinions being given, some of which were quite heated.

I weaned my baby at 10 weeks old. Do what you want, mother knows best!

This. This is why I hate the phrase. It is an excuse to do whatever the hell you want. Do these people genuinely believe they know better than the numerous professionals who have spent years studying to gain their degrees before then spending years adding on to years worth of research that has already been on done such matters?


I understand there are many babies who are weaned before 17 weeks on the advice of medical professionals. That will be advice given specifically for that child, by someone who knows what they are talking about. Not advice given by a friend/family member/random acquaintance based on something they decided to do.

Yeah well such-and-such did it, and their child is perfectly fine.

Even when hit with evidence to suggest otherwise, such as a person saying that they have multiple health issues caused by early weaning, they still use the phrase mother knows best!

I get that not everyone plays by the rules. Parents, especially new parents, take advice from the people they trust and most especially from their own parents. However, if by taking that advice you are going against recommendations given by top professionals in their fields, please at least do your own research first!

So this has totally turned into a bit of a rant (‘rant’ being the word used by my partner when I read it out to him!), which is something I didn’t intend for it to be! But please, if you are going to use the phrase mother knows best for something that has a direct impact on the health and wellbeing of your child, make sure you educate yourself on that topic first. Don’t just do something because it’s the done thing.

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