When You Let Your 5-year-Old Daughter Paint Your Nails, You Learn an Important Life Lesson

Jewel Eliese


“One of the darkest, deepest shames so many of us mothers feel nowadays is our fear that we are Bad Mothers, that we are failing our children and falling far short of our own ideals.” -Ayelet Waldman

I knew what I was doing, yet I did it anyway.

I was living the dangerous life of a mother as I told my daughter to choose a color. Any color.


The color of the clouds, heaven, and angels was to be the doom of my nails. She took it out, grabbed a paper towel.

And painted my nails.

The Lesson I Learned: Imperfection is Perfect

Let me start by saying I’ve never had perfect nails, so my nail experience may not be as hard for me as for some women. I was the girl sitting in math class bored, probably anxious, and biting my nails down to their very limits.


But not this time.

With age, love, and time my nails have grown so long that, while typing this now, I find myself using my nails instead of the tips of my fingers.


My five-year-old’s face gleamed as she painted my long nails outside the lines. The brush was wet on my skin and I could only smile at what I learned; imperfection is perfect.

Not every second of parenthood leaves you feeling like a good mother. A lot of the time we feel as though we are failing.

But that moment felt right.

Putting Imperfection Into Action

“I am not perfect. I just think that imperfections are beautiful.” -Lady Gaga

I am a people pleaser by nature. If someone is down, it becomes a goal of mine to make them smile, even just for a moment. Yet, this life can make you feel like you must be perfect or have a smile on your own face at all times.

Same with motherhood.

Though I’m not as good as it is as I want to be, mothers too feel like they have to be perfect. What is a supermom except for a mother who can do it all? We are expected by society and ourselves to be perfect.

And we can’t be. We aren’t.

And shouldn’t have to try to be.

So my challenge to me and to you is to do something a bit imperfect today — within reason. Let your child put lipstick on your face, run around like a bird on the playground with them, or be bold and write those words you’ve been meaning to.

For me, tomorrow I think I will leave my nails as they are now. Perfectly imperfect.

I know what I’m doing and will do it anyway


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Published on Scary Mommy, & Thought Catalog. Amazon bestselling author. Writer Mom. A bit sassy. Loves words + baby kisses. Reach me at jeweleliese@gmail.com

Medora, ND

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