My boys have worms…in their bodies {or “Mother of the Year”}

Oct 3, 2012

Her turn…

On my flight back from Indy I sat behind the sweetest little family. The dad generously offered to sit next to their 5-year-old son. They patiently talked him through our one-hour-delay. They entertained him with educational games (“Can you find a picture in the magazine starting with the sound “tuh”?”). When he began to whine they quietly corrected and directed him.

Impressed, I wanted to congratulate the parents on a job well-done.

But I didn’t get a chance.

When we landed and they stood from their seats the mom realized her son had peed in his pants. Horrified she looked me straight in the eye and sarcastically said,  “Mother of the Year”. 

I wanted to hold her two hands and say, “YES! Congratulations. You are the mother of the year. You just handled your son with grace, truth and love for a long airplane flight. You didn’t become unglued realizing you’d missed your connection flight and would be spending the night in a Dallas hotel.  I’d like to hand you an award because you are worthy of the honor, not the shame you just claimed.”

Instead I just smiled and said, “Y’all are doing a great job”.

My turn…with worms

Yesterday my son yelled from the bathroom, “Hey mom! You want to see the worms in my poop?”

Excuse me, WHAT?

Holding my nose I peered down into the toilet to confirm his claim. Sure enough a couple of little white strings started wiggling and I almost vomited on top of them.

This son (who shall go nameless for his protection) proceeded to tell me this was not the first time he’d seen worms in his poop. In his mind, he assumed this was normal. Again, WHAT?

I immediately googled, “little white worms in poop” (sure did) and discovered my son has pinworms. The suggested treatment involves medication, intense cleaning of the house, wiping his bottom each morning (since the female worms lay eggs at night…wish I was kidding), cutting his fingernails shorter, and washing his hands thoroughly after using the bathroom.

As I scrubbed his fingernails with a brush and anti-bacterial soap, he shared with me the names of his worm friends: “Dale”, “William”, “Bobby”, “Wayne” (Wayne is his favorite)…seriously.

My mind screamed, “MOTHER OF THE YEAR!!!”

Right? Don’t you think I’ve hit rock bottom when we are harvesting worms…in our bodies!

The shame washed over as the mothering doubts rolled in…had I not bathed him enough? Forced him to wash his hands after using the bathroom? Prohibited putting rocks in his mouth?

THEN I remembered the mom from the airplane. How she had thrown the proverbial “baby out with the bath water”. I was determined to keep that baby and lose the bad water.

So, here I am, mother of 4 boys (and many worms), proudly claiming:

I AM mother of the year!

photo credit

Perhaps it was poor hygiene that contributed to his worm “situation”. Beside the fact that I have four young boys whom I love well every day, I am doing a lot of things right. Here is the start of the list from that day:

  • Up at 4 a.m. cleaning and comforting a son who woke up with a bloody nose.
  • Up at 5:30 a.m. feeding a hungry baby.
  • Treating stains and washing blood stained sheets and bath mat.
  • Tracking down the doctor for a pinworm prescription (FYI…turns out you can now get the medicine over-the-counter, called Pyrantel…we went to Walgreens…$9).
  • Taking all four boys into Walgreens to pick up medication while avoiding all Halloween candy displays.
  • Returning DVD I had checked out from the library
  • Enjoying a yummy lunch with my second born son
  • Dropping off and picking up two boys from two different schools where they are loved, have sweet friends, and learn some stuff too.
  • etc….

See? Mother. Of. The. Year.

I deserve it. You deserve it. But instead of grabbing hold of the trophy, you and I mock the award. We claim to be unworthy.

That is the farthest from the truth.

Just because a child pees his pants in public or has worms wiggling in his poop…doesn’t make you a bad mom. It doesn’t make him a bad kid either. It’s just life. One stinky thing happened in a long list of truly awesome things.

If you love your children and they feel safe today, then humbly accept the award for Mother of the Year (acceptance speech is optional…but you better thank your mother!).

What one thing went wrong today already and you claimed to be a “failure”? Make a list of all the wonderful things you have done right today (includes meeting basic needs). If today hasn’t been so good, consider yesterday, last week, this year…you deserve the award…so hold it by both handles high above your head! MOTHER OF THE YEAR!!!!

P.S. I now have 3 boys with worms. It’s all good. (oh wait…now all 4 boys).

P.P.S. Just like anything I write about on this blog…I asked my boys’ permission in sharing their story. All 3 boys gave me the thumbs up (freshly trimmed thumbs too!).


  1. Marcy

    I am amazed at all that you do and the courage you have to share your journey in motherhood with others. I have been encouraged on many occasions by your posts and wanted to thank you for blessing me with the truth of God’s word in situations that are so similar to my own. I had never heard of worms until my daughter had a similar thing happen to her last September. And I felt like a horrible mom…worse yet was the reactions from other moms who were horrified at the situation (and made me feel all the worse!). Thank you. I will keep you all in my prayers this week as you work hard to get rid of the worms!

    • Heather MacFadyen

      thank you marcy for your super kind words! Thank you for sharing your story…misery loves company. Yes, I’m sure I would be “that” mom responding with the horrified expression if it was someone else’s kids. Thankful for friends who have shown a lot of compassion and grace! all prayers appreciated!

  2. kate clarke

    You have my sympathy. For what it’s worth, Lice is just as delightful and just as mortifying in your hair that you caught off your daughter; just as easy to pick up at school as worms. Every trial we have exasperates us but it just makes us stronger and makes us more alert to the next thing that can happen. You could regard this as an allegory for your faith – watch out for attacks and protect yourself with the Holy Spirit!

    • Heather MacFadyen

      Ha! yes, funny thing just got an email that some children at my son’s school have lice. So maybe we will get lucky and have both! Love the faith analogy..thanks kate!

  3. tanya

    this was the day I needed this! I had a meeting with my kindergarten son’s principle yesterday, three weeks into school! First time EVER having to do that (he is my third child) I was distraught with my bad mothering skills. Thank you for helping me see that one stinky thing is not the break in my mother skills, it shows I am human, as are my children. And God loves us! just like we are!
    So thank you from another Mother of the Year!

    • Heather MacFadyen

      oh sister, so glad it was an encouragement to you. yes, 100% human and flawed…and loved for who we are. 😉

  4. Julie Sanders@comehaveapeace

    Oh Heather, I so love this. I think we all live with some hidden “worms” that threaten to discourage us and impact our overall “health.” Your’e doing great, friend! Your boys just learned that life is full of imperfect stuff, and that’s NORMAL and OKAY. 🙂 Love to you!

    • Heather MacFadyen

      thanks sweet julie! love what you said, “hidden worms that threaten to discourage and impact our health”…so true!

  5. The Clays

    I needed this laugh…and sorry to laugh at the worms, but, it is inspiring me to FINALLY cut the middle ones nails…the one I’ve been telling we need to wash his hands and cut his nails for about a week now!!! (not that they haven’t been cleanish at some point in the week, he has washed his hands sporadically, but those nails!!!) I really needed this post as I am homeschooling and worry about failing my boys, EVERY DAY!!! Love seeing that this is normal. Thanks!

    • Heather MacFadyen

      life is hard, so we need laughter, right? Glad we can be helpful in motivating others in areas of hygiene. 😉 Oh the lies of “failing” our kids…when you are working so hard to give them the best…you show up and you care…Mother of the year material!

  6. Carrie @ Better Is A Little

    Thank you for writing this. I’m working on The Nester’s 31 Day challenge, and my topic is reality – all those things that ALL of us do as moms but we’re all too afraid to admit, thinking surely someone will finally turn us in. But you’ve given me a new direction… While all those screw-ups are real, all the good things we do all day are real, too. So I’m going to try adding those things to my post. Thanks again.

    • Heather MacFadyen

      Congrats on doing the 31-day challenge! Glad my post could help you refine your focus! be blessed!

  7. Kristi


    We have a few mutual friends in common, and at the urging of one of them, I started following your blog a few months ago. I thoroughly enjoy your candor, humor, humility, and, above all, your desire to be a “better” Mom and follow God in all you do/say. We all have those “Mother of the Year” moments, and I doubt they will stop as long as our bodies draw breath. The fact that you CARE is what counts, as it shows how you love your boys in a way that God would desire. Thanks for sharing your story and I hope that the boys recover quickly.
    On a somewhat ironic note, I had a dream earlier this week that I had worms in my body!!!!

  8. Leslie

    Wow-zah! You are the Mother of the Year! Thanks for sharing with the world.
    Read a good quote today- “The days are long, but the years are short.” Gretchin Rubin
    One day not toooo terrible long from now you will have a huge laugh from this. They grow so quickly. Embrace where you are.

  9. Jacki R

    Oh Heather! We have worms too! Should have seen my face when the doctor told me we had pinworms. So gross…but yet a day in the life of being a mom! I continue to love your posts, and I’m so thankful to have someplace to always come where someone understands exactly what I’m dealing with! (besides The Bible of course)

  10. Clare

    Thank you for sharing this Heather 🙂 I have been having a few days lately where I have been feeling like the worst mother in the world! (it’s school holidays over here in NZ…) but your post has reminded me that I am doing the best I can and I have happy, healthy kids who feel loved, and that is what matters. And I remember having pinworms as a child – unpleasant! But very common in the 5 – 10 year age group (I’ve seen how well 5 year old boys wash their hands at school, no matter how well they’ve been taught!) You are an awesome Mum and I feel so blessed that you share your journey with us here on your blog 🙂

  11. Christy

    Thanks Heather. Great reminder. I have had days where I felt I deserved the “mom of the year” award. Like when i did not realize that Caroline’s first day of school was only until noon this year so I was 45 minutes late picking her up. Or when every person in our family (all 15 cousins, aunts, uncles, etc) had lice. We did not start it but we discovered it. But you are right. There are so many things I do well every day.

  12. Kristin

    Heather, OH MY GOSH! I am behind on reading this week, but when I finally did, I talked to myself out loud after I got to the white worm part. My husband said, “What?” I had to reread it all over again, thanks for the torture, so he could hear the story verbatim. THIS IS AWFUL!!! And of course will force me to be inspecting my children’s poop tomorrow. What would have happened if he went months without telling you? Would he have gotten deathly ill? Thanks for the humor. I am so sorry you are experiencing this, but you never cease to amaze me… you are handling this will GRACE… given to you by HIM above.

  13. alice

    I love this post. You DO deserve an award. Your kids having worms is a tell-tale sign they’ve been playing outside, doing little boy things. I’ve considered a quarterly deworming around here.

  14. Kyle Thomas (I'm a girl)

    LOL! I reposted your blog on my facebook page. A sweet mom has already messaged me telling ME thanks for posting it. It really helped her. When my little boy was 2 he drank a whole bottle of dewormer that was for our new puppy (she was a Rottweiler so it was a lot). When I walked into the room where he was watching cartoons, he held up the bottle to me and said, “done!” I panicked and called poison control. They said that he would be fine and worm free! LOL!!! Seriously though, pinworms sound gross, but are a fairly common problem with kiddos. Your post though is right on the money!!! Thanks for being so open!

  15. Lisa L.

    Thank you so much for your transparency! It is just AWESOME. What a gift from God. I’ve got 5 boys 10 and under and my sixth due in February, yes another boy 🙂 and I’ve got to live my life remembering what I am doing right instead of focusing on where things slack. This post is a perfect reminder of that. Love love love to you and your beautiful boys. ~Lisa

  16. Tracey

    Thank you for sharing. It’s encouraging to read about other people’s real life stuff. It makes you feel like you’re not the only one living through craziness. Bless you honey! Hope the worms are gone soon.

  17. Ken Adams

    Julie, your blog always has great God centered advice. It also made laugh remembering a neighborhood mom (who will not be named to protect the innocent ) who brought a mason jar full of poop over the our house so I could use my microscope to confirm her son had a tapeworm. I love being the doctor in the neighborhood that will try to help anyone out who needs it but sometimes it goes way outside my area of expertise (sports and rehab med) and is gross 😉

    • Ken Adams

      Dont know why I put Julie…it must be too early. Sorry Heather!

  18. christina8592

    i am pretty sure your boys were thrilled to have you blog about worms in their poop!

  19. Teri Lynne Underwood

    Oh girl!! You are amazing! And this story makes me wish we were neighbors … because I know I could drink coffee and laugh with a friend whose kids have worms in their poop. 🙂

  20. Stephanie

    Just found one of these lil devils in my 3 yr olds poop !! He has been playing at a playground with sand!! Needless to say the sand is bye bye!! So happy I found this blog!!! I was freaking out!!!

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