Constance Marie’s Blog: The Gift of Happiness

01/03/2012 at 09:00 AM ET

Look who’s back! We’re thrilled to say hello again to Constance Marie, our original celebrity blogger! The actress, mom to daughter Luna Marie, 3 next month, with fiancé Kent Katich, stars on Switched at Birth, premiering its newest season Tuesday at 8 p.m. on ABC Family.

Marie, 46, can also be found online on Facebook and @goconstance on Twitter. If you’ve missed any of her past posts, check them out here.

In her latest blog, the actress explains why the best gift she can give Luna Marie is optimism — and shares the morning routine that got them on the path to happiness.

Courtesy Constance Marie

A long time ago I read a book about optimism. I think it was when my daughter was 8 months old. I can’t remember exactly when, but one thing I know for sure — I WAS SLEEP DEPRIVED.

This book was about a study conducted in regards to optimism and ultimately, happiness. It was really interesting! It broke down the theory that you could pick different people from different walks of life, different ethnicities, different circumstances, different everything, and predict which people would report the highest degree of fulfillment and happiness.

Even if they came from horrible backgrounds or circumstances — that didn’t seem to matter. The one thing that these people all had in common was a core sense of optimism. They viewed their circumstances through optimistic eyes. Yes, even the bad circumstances. They somehow knew that everything would turn out all right.

Courtesy Constance Marie

Of course, I read this book while I was sleep training my precious little baby girl, because in my bleary-eyed, sleep deprived desperation, I needed something to hold on to. In those desperate hours of trying to get my kid to sleep, I would read this book about optimism.

Just so you understand, the way we sleep trained Luna Marie was by putting her down to sleep in her crib and giving her a kiss goodnight — then I would stand at the edge of her crib, pay her no attention and focus on reading my book. She understood that I was there, she was safe, but that she had to fall asleep on her own.

She had to think Mama was busy, and that I was just there for moral support if she needed me. (Of course if she fussed a little bit I would soothe her, I wouldn’t just ignore her completely! I’m not made of stone!) But mostly, I ignored her. When she would fall asleep, I would leave the room.

The next time I put her down, I would step a few inches further away from the crib, look down at this book and wait till she fell asleep. I continued this process and stepped further and further away from the crib towards the door till my little girl learned to fall asleep in her crib on her own without me having to rock her.

Those few minutes were my only quality reading time. But I digress! This blog isn’t about sleep training, it’s about optimism!

Courtesy Constance Marie

That’s when I got the idea that no matter what the circumstances, the best gift I could give my daughter — the gift that would pay off for the rest of her life — would be the gift of optimism/happiness. That’s when I invented my morning routine.

Every morning when I would wake up Luna Marie — of course, after the mandatory few minutes of cuddle time and kisses and just plain being cozy in the bed — I would get up and open her blackout curtains (’cause you GOTTA have blackout curtains to keep that kid asleep!) and I would say “Hello, sun!” in my happy voice.

Then I would look back at Luna Marie and I would exclaim, “Oh my gosh, Luna Marie, it’s a beautiful day!” She would say, “Really, Mama?!” and she would be happy right from the beginning of the day.

I would do this routine every single morning, whether it was a cloudy day, a cold day or a sunny day. So that way she learned that no matter what the circumstances, every day that she was alive was a beautiful day!

Sometimes on cloudy days she would come up to the window and say, “But, Mama, I do not see the sun.” I would reassure her, “Oh, the sun is there, it’s just hiding behind those beautiful grey clouds” (C’mon! Why can’t clouds be beautiful too?) and that would make her so happy to learn that A) clouds are beautiful too, and B) the sun was still there, she just couldn’t see it. Then we would go downstairs and carry on with our morning routine.

My hope is that having this optimistic point of view about the beauty of waking up every day and all the wonderful things that she can make happen will carry on through her life. But ultimately, I think what my daughter is reminding me of is that every day that I wake up is a beautiful day. I just have to choose to see it that way.

And if you don’t believe me, I have the book to prove it! I just have to find it. I know it’s there, somewhere buried in all the rubble of our toys, dirty dishes, Christmas decorations and tons and tons of torn-up wrapping paper!

Courtesy Constance Marie

I hope you have a happy day and spectacular New Year!

— Constance Marie

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Showing 26 comments

Kristin on

Soooooo Happy that you are back to blogging. You always have been and always will be my fav celeb blogger.

Thanks for sharing. I will have to try this with my kids. Although they are older, I think this will still be useful for them.

Again, so happy to see you back.

Jacqui on

Inspiring! Thanks!

me on

I love this. 🙂 So glad you can take the time to do this for your daughter. I really think she’ll be a better person because of it.

Sylvia g on

Your my favorite blogger ever. Your advice and words always make me want to do better!!! Hurry up and write a book already with all your tips!!!

Happy New Year Constance to and your family;)

MA momma on

Constance, thank you!

I have 2 daughters and one wakes up happy every morning, the other, not so much. The older child comes out of her room when she is ready but I think I may use your technique of opening the curtains and greeting the day WITH her, hopefully helping her to brighten her mood as soon as she opens her eyes.

Happy New Year to you and your family!

Tara on

so her 8 month hold sure could talk good. Even at 3 I don’t see her saying “but momma I do not see the sun”. Give me a break!!!

Ella on

Tara, that’s pretty rich considering you don’t seem to have a hold on spelling OR grammar yourself. Of course she’s not going to type it out in toddler babble – that wouldn’t be clear. And my daughter certainly spoke short, understandable sentences at 2 and longer ones at 3. It’s not all that strange.

Jenn on

Constance, I never read the book on optimism, but I do the same thing with my two girls every morning! They get big smiles on their faces when I open the blinds and tell them what a beautiful day it is (and if it’s raining or cloudy I tell them it’s a beautiful day because we have a prime opportunity to do art projects, go to the library, etc.)

Tara, are you for real? A two-year-old SHOULD be able to speak in sentences, even if they’re not entirely clear…

clobuono on

Glad Constance Marie is back..Love her!!

FC on

Oh, she has gotten so big now. I love the optimism. Too much negativity and pessimism in the world as it is! And I had to laugh at the blackout curtains, because my father uses those, too.

MiB on

Thank you for this post, I think what you said about a beautiful day would make a beautiful mantra. Can you imaging fokusing on the mantra “Every day I am alive is a beautiful day” for a few minutes every morning? I think that would brighten my day!

I actually did something like that in my late teens, when I went through a period with a horrible self image, I decided that every morning I would tell the image in the mirror “You are beautiful, you are worthy of love” and then I would smile at myself. It did take some time to believe myself (in fact, I still have a tendency to forget it from time to time), but in the end I did. Though sadly, like Alice, I don’t always listen to or follow my own advice.

Amanda on

You are my favorite celebrity blogger, Constance Marie. So glad to see your thoughtful and caring writing again. You and Luna Marie are beautiful. Wow–I can’t believe that she is three already.

In your spare time (ha ha), check out The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. She discusses this kind of optimism.

Happy New Year!!!!!!

vslt on

Excited to see Constance Marie back to her blogging :)…I agree like many others here commenting…def one of the best celeb bloggers…I’ve def missed reading your stories here on…they were soo helpful and inspiring. Hopefully to hear from you more often…Happy New Yr to you and your family 🙂

CJ on

Love this. 🙂 Thanks for your perspective.

PresentsLover on

Thank you Constance Marie, I love the ritual and I will implement it.

Patty on

Constance Marie- I must say… I love your spirit. Finally someone who wants to instill in their child a sense of positivity that breeds optimism. The world so lacks that now.. and so many parents hold the key to that.

I learned the hard way that the things you DO or DON’T do with or for your kids from the beginning DOES change the way they TURN OUT. I love knowing that you are molding a beautiful human being there.. that someday will be part of society and even if she isn’t a rocket scientist (or even if she is)… she will be a whole, fullfilled person that felt LOVED, and CARED FOR and mostly GUIDED by her mom and dad… the two roles that are SOOO very important to human growth and acceptance.

God Bless you for loving your baby and for providing her with a positive path to travel on for the rest of her life. God Bless your family. I will continue to look out for your blogs… cuz now.. I feel inspired 🙂 THANK YOU.

jackie on

I really enjoy you but last night I stopped taping your show.

I just don’t care for all of the characters anymore, why do they all have to be such extremes…they whole situation with the father and her not listening or even really giving him a chance and the mother (your role) telling her she didn’t have to listen to him it, just sent a bad message to me. Prof athelete father gives your daughter advice (good advice about loyalty) and the mother tells her it’s okay ignore it. It was not well written.

And why does the deaf girl have to be shown as angry all of the time – she is always mad at someone. It sends the wrong message about deaf people. The most honest (albiet creepy) moment was when Marlie’s character laughed – it was rude but it was honest.

I’m done with the show but I am glad I can continue to enjoy your blog.

jackie on

and I meant to say: your daughter is lovely, an absolute doll

Melissa on

I came across this blog by chance during my lunch on a very difficult day. I have been trying to find the answer to unlock my happiness from within. To find the sunshine on a cloudy day. My days seem to be so cloudy lately that I am grasping at anything that could possibly help me to see the sun even on a cloudy day.

If you by chance come across that book I would appreciate you forwarding me the title. I am hoping that it will help me with finding my happiness. I have a 2 1/2 year old daughter that needs her mom to be happy.

Thank you for your time.

barbara on

what a beautiful story about a beautiful mommy……I love it!

MB on

Constance is such a great mom, not to mention beautiful too! Thanks for sharing great advice!

Tracy on

I’ve been a fan of yours ever since the 1st episode of the George Lopez show but didn’t know you have a blog until now :o) I also have a girl who’s 3 (she’s a fan of the show, too haha) & know just how difficult it can be. Optimism is definitely key. You are a great mom & truly an inspiration! Keep up the good work.

Sarah S. on

Thank you Constance, for writing about this important aspect to life! My children are 14 and 11, and it’s not too late to develop my own routine to be optimistic on a daily basis. Like Melissa above, my kids need their Mom to be happy. I really want to read that book too–anyone know the title?

sara on

One, I loved the method you used for sleep training! Two, the commitment to start the day on an optimistic note with a positive tone of voice and time to cuddle is something I will definitely adopt when my kids come along! I love your blog!

Luda on

You have a beautiful little girl…

Isa on

I would love to read the book about Optimism. Would you mind telling me what book it is. Constance you are an inspiration. I loved watching the show Mi Familia you were always the person who would solve everyones problems. You are an amazing mother. Keep up the good work