Motherhood was the reason I bothered to improve my photography. Of course, as part and parcel of improving the photography, I improved my gear too.
But seriously, I was a crappy photographer when my son was born. We had a decent compact P&S (Canon PowerShot) but I was always unhappy with the pictures I was taking of my baby. I decided to do something about it. I studied the fundamentals of photography first, until I outgrew the capabilities of my camera. Then I got a Lumix superzoom (FZ35) and started shooting/editing in RAW. Used that, and kept studying photography and experimenting and challenging myself, until I outgrew that camera. Then got a GH2, and am still studying, learning, experimenting, challenging.
The good news is, there is a NOTICEABLE improvement in my pictures since I started. This makes me happy. Even my husband comments on it.
The gear is part of it, but my personal growth is WAY more important: learning about composition, lighting, etc.
The only thing that makes me sad is that since I'm always the one behind the camera, there are not so many pictures of me and my son together.
So I always schedule a professional family photo shoot each year ...