At the beginning of a new year, as I take time to re-evaluate things going on in my life, choices I’ve made, and experiences I’ve had over the last year, I come to the place of contemplating inspiration. Maybe we can think of it as motivation, though I think there are some variances in the definitions of the two words.

My greatest inspiration is my son. When I think of why I do just about everything I do, I always come back to him. My divorce, my weight loss, my move, my financial planning (thus my career choices), every thing I do, I do for him.  It’s interesting how someone so small, so young, so innocent can inspire me in so many ways. We’d like to think we’re supposed to be the inspirations for our children, and we are. I just offer that the level of inspiration we receive from them far outweighs that.

I wonder what I did before I was a mom. Wonder what fueled my decisions… what was my motivation. I can’t even remember and at this point, it doesn’t matter.

I wonder, though, what happens for those who lose their children. What becomes their inspiration or motivation? This forces me to consider how immensely changed my life was the moment I became a mother and how, in all of my efforts to do so, reclaiming the “me” before I had a child is impossible. I will never be that woman again. I might lament the loss of “freedom”, the loss of “fun”, the loss of being responsibility-free, but to what end? What I’ve gained, at the very least in form of inspiration, is incomparable, irreplaceable.

I love my son. I need my son. He inspires me.

Who inspires you?

What inspiration do you draw from your children?

What has becoming a parent changed for you, in terms of your goals/plans?

6 thoughts on “Inspiration

  1. I love how inspirational your son has been for you. 🙂

    I have to say that although my baby also inspires me, everything I do is NOT for her. LOL. And, I remember very clearly what is was to be inspired before she arrived, and I’m still inspired by those things. It would be easier to be a stay-at-home mom, especially considering the level of care I insist on delivering to my child. But the truth is that my career has meaning and significance for me that is independent of her. I want her to be proud of me, and I also want to help put food on the table. But my career is for me; it’s what I want to do with my brain. I pray she’ll be benefited by it, but I also pray that it’ll give me meaning long after she no longer needs me.

    Having a child, however, does deepen my perspective on a number of issues, including the ones that animate my scholarship.


  2. Before I was a parent, success and wealth were my motivators. Now that I’m a parent, it’s more about setting a great example for my children. I want to lead by example. My decisions are based on what’s best for them and their welfare. My children inspire me to be the best me I can be. They’re so innocent, simple and carefree. Their love is unconditional and they take joy in the simple things. I think, as adults, those are traits we lose along the way. We become so jaded by society and life that we forget to love freely and unconditionally and to enjoy the simple things in life.


  3. I can co-sign your feelings. I’ve said from the day he came into the world that my 11 year old son saved my life. I’m a better me because he challenges me. I am also inspired by my mom who after raising 4 children decided to go to college. She is now a few classes shy from earning her Bachelors’ degree from FSU! Most importantly I’m motivated by what the future holds. I know that I won’t be a single mom forever and I am planning and charting my next course.


  4. This is a good question because some mornings I wake up and I don’t have inspiration. And the day doesn’t feel like one worth going through. I think it’s a great point that there is a difference between inspiration and motivation; I am motivated to get up and get moving by my children. They depend on me for their livelihood, and I love them so much that I am motivated to provide what they need. I want a certain life for them and know what I need to do to get it. Also, like ORJ said, I want a certain life, materially, for myself, and I’m motivated to work every day to get those things. I enjoy the work that I do, but the more I do it, I realize that it does not inspire me. It’s good work, its meaningful work, but it’s not inspirational work.

    Inspiration…that’s different. For me, inspiration is a slippery thing, and I certainly don’t rely on inspiration to do what I have to do. If I did, I wouldn’t get anything done. I’m inspired by a genius melody, or a bass line. I’m inspired by the way the sun’s light lands on my child’s face, as I snap the picture, print it out, and think about when I’m going to have a chance to pull out my oils and paint it. I’m inspired by a rainbow. I’m inspired by my charcoals and a nice, weighty, textured piece of paper. I’m inspired by the way words flow together into a sentence that didn’t exist but two seconds before. I’m inspired by my voice. I’m inspired by the act of creating something out of nothing. That makes every day worth living to me.

    Some days I get to do that, most days I don’t, in a formal way. I have to create it, whether its by riding in my car aimlessly so I can listen to music and sing in peace, or take long walks with my headphones on and my camera out. I’m motivated by the promise of getting to those days of creation.


  5. I love the sum of all of these responses, as well as the intent of the author. I find that unlike LaToya I am not especially inspired by the pleasures of art or our natural environment; I am more often inspired by life’s social ills and the ability to critique and hopefully disempower them.

    I am hoping that that work will inspire my children to do the same. While their presence is not currently an inspiration for this work (and I hope that their personal agency never is), I do see one benefit of that work to be creating a better world for my children, our children.


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