1st Birthdays, Modern Day Mothering, and Life Lessons from a Daughter


The late poet and mother of 6, Lucille Clifton, writes:

We are running


and time is clocking us

Oh pray that what we want is worth this running.

Pray that what we’re running toward is what we want. 

Our sweet baby girl makes her first trip around the sun today, and I, like so many parents I know, gasp in disbelief at the thought of it being a year already.

It sounds so cliche, but, seriously, where has a WHOLE year gone?

How did it blow by so QUICKLY?

Am I just supposed to accept that FAST is the way it is for a mom of young children?

But wait, could it have more to do with all the RUNNING I did this year?

“Pray that what we’re running toward is what we want,” Lucille invokes.

“Why, dear one, are you running?” Wonders to self.

Out of habit?

Out of love?

Out of necessity?

Too much on your plate?

Lost in a cultural narrative about how endlessly busy mothers should be as homemakers, caretakers, workers, pinteresters, picker-uppers, EVERYTHINGER’S?

Trapped in a small story about not being enough and, therefore, always pushing myself to do more in order to feel like I’m truly ENOUGH?

Sometimes there are real reasons to run, no doubt. Feeding hangry children, keeping kids safe in a parking lot, changing blown-out diapers.

But, what about running when there aren’t real reasons — ya know, actual threats to someone’s survival or safety? (Like the time I busted myself matching kids’ socks at the speed of light even though the they already had clean socks on their feet – and PLENTY more in their bin.)

If you’re anything like me, it’s easy to fly through the mundane things of motherhood without any real connection to what we’re doing. Racing to send an email in order to switch laundry in order to make dinner in order to clean up toys in order to get kids to bed on time in order to wake up and do it all over again the next day. Everything, a means to an end.

Lessons from a Daughter

This is where having a daughter in my life has helped in beautiful – and unexpected – ways.

Something about her fluid, graceful feminine energy has helped me SLOW DOWN and enjoy more.

Step back from so much BUSYNESS.

Bring the light of AWARENESS to the ordinary moments of being a mother – and human – without discounting them as unimportant.

SAVOR the small stuff – the things that as Mary Oliver says, “more or less kill me with delight.”

Let mundane be ENOUGH, whether I’m reading, explaining why I said no, or doing dishes. “No way to tell this moment does not measure up,” Ed Brown writes.

Create space for LIVING, not just surviving.

I once heard Jon Kabat-Zinn say that children are the greatest meditation teachers. At the time, I thought he was full of it. But it turns out, I wasn’t ready to hear it.

Happy first birthday, dear daughter. Thank you for inviting me to live into the wise words of Danna Faulds: “Life isn’t a relay race; we will all cross the finish line, waking up to life is what we were born for.”


Breon Michel

About Breon

Mindfulness teacher, compassionate community leader, entrepreneur, writer, stress reduction aficionado, hope igniter, adventure seeker, mountain biker, devoted to others

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