First there's pregnancy. The nausea, puking, backaches. Your stomach grows so that you resemble a Macy's parade balloon.
Then comes labor in all its excruciating glory; the pushing, the yelling, the mess and finally a baby. And then there are the sleepless nights and a routine of eat, sleep, poop and repeat.
Chasing after a newly walking and then running, toddler on the loose.
Stepping on Legos and assorted action figures in the middle of the night.
Temper tantrums because he doesn't want to be there wherever there is and total meltdowns because he's hungry.
The many 'nots': Not eating what you prepared, not listening when you say "don't touch that", not wanting to do homework.
The endless cleaning of stickiness, spillages, crumbs, and fingerprints.
And then one day he hugs you and says, "Mom, I could never get a better mother than you. I love you."
And that, well, that wipes away all the pain and challenging times and makes it all worth it.