What Littles Provide Us

This past weekend our family escaped to the Appalachian mountains. I love the mountains—they ground me. Being nestled amongst them for a few recharging days helped my heart. Nature does the soul good in general, but the mountains…the mountains impart a gift I feel is specifically offered to me. Their gifts of creativity and motivation have influence over my life. For me, mountains are a muse because they serve as a source of inspiration. And in a similar way, my littles and our relationship are also my muses.

It’s not uncommon to hear that we shouldn't have children in an attempt to save ourselves, marriage, or partnership. That bringing them into the world shouldn’t be dependent on what you’ll get out of their existence. Although a valid stance, I challenge it. While I understand littles alone can’t holistically complete me, I’m equally quick to defend the notion that they fill mamas quite a bit—enough to debate whether littles, in some ways, save us.

From spontaneous moments to meaningful milestones, we’re enthralled in mutual enjoyment with our littles. But below the surface of such sweet times are richer fulfillments that we may not think about nor consider: Littles' wonderment and requited love invigorates the persevered journey toward personal improvement. And because we strive to be stronger for our littles, we go beyond comfort into new territory—we’re motivated to do things we never thought we would, and are inspired to awaken different parts our ourselves. Mamas, I know you can relate—littles entice us to seize life with more depth. In the hope for our littles’ flourishing we can’t help but hope for our own.

Littles have magic—upon us they cast a spell that tends to transform our mindset, shift our priorities, and reposition our hearts in such a healing, sustaining way. And in this sense they do indeed provide a way for us to be much more complete...maybe more complete than we would've been without them. Because of who littles are and what they mean to us, they can alter who we are.

Littles heal us from childhood wounds by providing us the chance of redemption.

Littles give new meaning to our marriage by providing a joint, newfound purpose.

Littles grant us hope by providing a different lens through which to see the world.

Littles strengthen our connectedness by providing a reason to be in community.

And littles support our faith by providing proof of miracles just with their breathing.

We aren’t exclusively made better because we adopted a mama role—being a mama doesn’t change our baggage and our messiness, and littles’ magic can’t render personal salvation. We must still act on our own behalf, and even then we will never truly be complete. Anticlimactic, maybe. But also beautiful. For me—and for you, mama—our littles and our relationship with them serve as a muse. The fact that they inspire and motivate the work we do for and on ourselves means they're inspiring and motivating…it means they’re a muse. And though they can’t complete us, they provide us more clarity on how to move in that direction.

I challenge you mamas out there to consider how your littles serve as your muse—in what areas are they pushing you to be more complete, more fulfilled? Also, spend some time thinking about other possible muses in your life—a person, place or thing that supports your positive evolution.