While it is a rather strange verbal exchange, one can only wonder if was not one of those "good an better' moments such as we hear in the Sermon on the Mount, or one of the "good, but better" moments such as we heard in the home of Martha and Mary. He certainly did not dishonor women as mothers. He did not deny the values and goodness of a woman who brought life into the world and nurtured it. Such is a good thing, but what He did do was to say an even better thing was hearing the Word of God with an obedient heart. If being a mother is a good thing, then a better thing is to please God.
It should be no surprise that Jesus would be focused on the obedient life. Obedience was the thing which was keeping Him moving steadfastly toward Jerusalem. He understood an obedient heart brought great spiritual blessing, a blessing that was even greater than giving and sustaining life. An obedient heart enables us to move forward into God's future without looking back. Truly, we are more greatly blessed when we are able to walk after God in such a way.