Kate Middleton Stopped Wearing Nail Polish—and as a New (and Busy) Mom, I Am Here For It

Close up on Kate Middleton’s nails during her tour of Ireland this week and you’ll spot it. Her nails don’t have a single coat of polish on them. Not even a clear coat from what I can tell. What gives?

Royal enthusiast Elizabeth Holmes has a theory she shared via IG Stories: “Anyone else feel like this is a subtle busy-mom-no-I-can’t-deal-with-polish rebellion?” My take: 1000 percent, yes.

Here’s why. Prior to having my son, who’s now two years old, I was a manicure addict. In fact, I went to my local nail salon twice a month. Polished nails made me feel pulled together. Confident. Whole. 

But after my son was born, my twice-a-month manis became a “nice to have.” I soon found myself irritated by the length of time I had to go without use of my hands, not to mention struggling constantly to schedule an appointment time I could actually stick to (something kid-related always inevitably came up). My routine quickly changed to once a month, tops. I also started opting in on gel. Sure, it was pricier, but it lasted longer. Time=saved. But by the time my son was one and a half, manicures became a hard pass entirely. (This includes doing my nails at home. My son always seems to need something from me the minute my nails are wet.)  

Don’t get me wrong: I’m no stranger to self-care. I prioritize time with friends, acupuncture and “me time,” even if all that means is a solo trip to Trader Joe’s. But there was something about not being able to use my hands for those 45 minutes. Motherhood changed me. Extra time (especially without use of my hands) was a luxury I could no longer afford.

Is Kate Middleton in the same boat? Maybe, maybe not. She likely has a team of people who can shape, file and paint her nails on a whim whenever her royal schedule allows. But, with three kids to tend to, plus a slew of royal engagements to be present for, I can relate to the fact that her manicure just might have been the one thing that had to fall off her royal plate. Le sigh.

She did, however, make time for a new haircut. Self-care priorities. (Kate, I totally get it.)

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