Constance Marie’s Blog: Confession – I Was Anti-Princess

02/04/2013 at 05:30 PM 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, 4 on Tuesday, with fiancé Kent Katich, stars on Switched at Birth, airing Mondays at 8 p.m. ABC Family.

She’s also one of the celebrity voices narrating beloved children’s stories for Little Golden Records, available now at Walmart.

Marie, 47, 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 she decided to drop her anti-princess stance and accept it instead.

Constance Marie Blog Anti-Princess Confession
Getting lippy with my girl – Courtesy Constance Marie

Oftentimes, my blogs start with a confession. This one is no different. My name is Constance Marie and I am anti-princess.

That’s right, I said it. I am anti-princess. Well, I guess the more correct statement would be: I was anti-princess.

And here is my reasoning: Many of the old princess stories emphasize beauty, wardrobe and much too much emphasis on how you look on the outside. To me, this was a recipe for shallow thinking and way too many opportunities for me to squander my money on accessories.

So when Luna Marie was young, I thought, “I am not having any of that!” I was a tomboy as a child! I wanted my daughter to be a scrapper and not so dainty.

But then I was snapped back to reality. I realized my daughter did not live in a bubble. She wasn’t so little anymore and she heard princess stories EVERYWHERE!!! All her friends, all the kids from school … everyone had dress-up clothes, tiaras, wands, plastic shoes, stickers and books.

Like I said — EVERY-frickin-where!!! It was like a princess avalanche that I could not stop, no matter how much I tried to avoid it. Oh yes. It was a losing battle … I did not stand a chance.

So, I set myself down and had a good think. I mean, all her friends were on the princess train. I didn’t want my daughter to feel left out. We’re not Amish for gosh sakes! So I sucked it up and started with one princess dress. Then of course, I saw another one in a different color. And then there was this sparkly one that was SO cute!

It was as if I had been bitten by the princess bug too! I thought to myself, “Okay, I’ll just dabble a little. Not too much princess. I’ll balance it with a little bit of doctor dress-up and superhero dress-up. I even succeeded in distracting her with a Wonder Woman outfit — ka-pow! I was so impressed with myself! At least for a little while.

Constance Marie Blog Anti-Princess Confession
My little Wonder Woman – Courtesy Constance Marie

Then … it happened. We were invited to a party and lo and behold, it was — you guessed it — a princess-themed party. With a real, live, human princess dressed in all the sparkle and flowery regalia that they wear! My daughter and I were done for. Seriously, she walked around like a dazed zombie just staring at this princess, adoring her from afar because she was too shy to go up close. Princesses 1, Mama 0.

Once again I sat down and had a good think. I realized this anti-princess battle was not going to be won by me.

FYI — I don’t take losing very well. I was a tomboy, remember — a scrapper. In all honesty, I loved to win! These princesses were not going to take me down! At least not without a proper battle.

I may have not be able to avoid this princess vortex, but I was going to find a way to spin this princess thing to my advantage — even if I had to choke down a tiara or two.

After many hours of analyzing my options, I realized most often the princesses started in non-fancy clothes, had to deal with a lot of adversity, and in the end they always came out on top. They may not have looked like princesses on the outside, but inside their behavior was totally princess-like.

“Ha ha,” I said to myself. “I have my hook!” Being a princess is all about how you behave and how you are on the INSIDE! I mean they weren’t all bad … most often them have a positive attitude. They are kind to animals. They are brave. They work hard. They tolerate adversity pretty well. And they have excellent manners! So I decided to teach my daughter that being a princess was more than what you wear or how you look.

I forgot to mention that this princess thing happened at around age 3.5. As I mentioned in a previous blog, we never got the terrible twos, but we got HIT by the terrible threes!

As luck would have it, I found a book called Polite as a Princess. It was perfect. Every parent’s dream! It had all the well-known princesses and it talked about how they had manners. They said, “Please” and “Thank you,” they didn’t interrupt, they shared — yada yada yada. The terrible threes were about to be over! (Insert diabolical laughter here).

Constance Marie Blog Anti-Princess Confession
Reading with wings – Courtesy Constance Marie

As parents, we have to use every tool that we can find, right?! We’re way older and don’t have as much stamina as they do!

So I implemented my plan. If I couldn’t fight the princesses, I was going to use them to help squash the terrible threes.

I read this book to my daughter at every opportunity. At the dinner table, in the car, before bed, potty time. She (and I) had it memorized. NOW I was ready to do battle!

At any time there was behavior that was basically driving me insane — behavior that I had tried to correct like 300 times before, but to no avail — I could quote the princess book. “Does Snow White get up in the middle of a meal?” “Is Ariel good at sharing?” etc.

This line of questioning would stop my daughter in her tracks. Luna Marie wanted NOTHING MORE than to be like a princess! She would look at me stunned/tortured as if I had some kind of special power.

And like a brainwashed little soldier, she immediately behaved like a proper princess. She would sit still, she would use her napkin, she would share. It was amazing! I was almost drunk with power!!! Princess 1 – Mama 47!

I know … it does sound a little evil step mother-y but come on, a mama’s gotta do what a mama’s gotta do.

So now, when we are out getting our playdate on or somewhere in public, strangers often compliment me on my daughter’s manners. To which I look at them, and say a polite princess, “Thank you” and then with a little twinkle in my eye I say, “Let me tell you about my philosophy, but more importantly this book!”

Constance Marie Blog Anti-Princess Confession
Meeting a princess in person – Courtesy Constance Marie

The parent’s response? “I REALLY gotta go get that book!”

So now, I’m just trying to pay it forward. Sadly, word on the street is that there is no boy equivalent for this book, like Polite as a Prince or Polite as a Pirate — wait, that last one doesn’t make sense.

Anyhoo, maybe some day there will be! Till then, stay strong Mommies and Daddies!

— Constance Marie

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Showing 28 comments

Nicole on

Thank you, thank you so much. I just went to Amazon and bought the book that you mentioned. My daughter will be three in April and like you, we didn’t have too many problems with the terrible twos, until recently and I have really been looking for a book about manners. My daughter loves princesses and I too was anti-princess, but it’s everywhere and its unavoidable so I might as well put a positive spin on it all and this is perfect.

Thank you again for sharing.

jenna on

also good- “do princesses wear hiking boots” and “do princesses scrape their knees”

Jen on

I’d also add “The Paper Bag Princess” and “The Princess Knight” about princesses who take charge and do things their own way.

My 4 year old likes princesses, and loves dress up. But we’ve always encouraged what she happened upon rather than push things onto her. We went through a cow phase, a dinosaur phase, a princess phase, and so on. We encourage whatever she’s into as long as its safe and age appropriate.

She plays outside in the mud in her princess dresses, and has already figured out how to chase a ball wearing a pair of “princess heels”.

blessedwithboys on

I liked every part of this blog except the slur against an entire group of people (the Amish).

Holiday on

My daughter is 2.5 and very into all things princess but I love having a girly girl 🙂 she’s also a sweet heart and luckily haven’t had many problems with her being rude or hard to manage

smartie on

I made a point not to raise my daughter with the princess bs in her head! Well, she had a period of princess obsession when she was three or four, because of her peers and that was it… Now we are both proud that she did not grow up with that shallow idea of femininity and the blue prince we have to marry in the end!

She has played dress up and went to Disneyland two times in her 8 years (we live close to Anaheim). I am very happy to have a wonderful grounded daughter 🙂

D on

The Amish comment is offensive.

MA momma on

I have 2 daughters, ages 5 1/2 and 2 1/2, and they are both into princesses. I swore I wouldn’t buy into the princess stuff either, but it was unavoidable, especially after my eldest entered kindergarten. We have loads of princess books and dress-up clothes and it’s hysterical to watch my little one parade around in the “glass slippers” that are a little too big for her.

We also have the Polite as a Princess book and we read it often, but I hadn’t thought to use it more to my advantage when it comes to reinforcing manners, etc. I’ll be adding that to the arsenal, thank you Constance Marie!

Beth on

At first, I was anti-princess too. Especially when people tried to give me little onesies with little jeweled crowns and the word “princess” printed on them. But like Constance, I realized we didn’t live in a bubble, and as much as I tried to keep her from the princesses, it was everywhere.

She started liking them at about 2 and 1/2 years old, and a full year later still loves them. But I calmed down a lot about it when I saw her running around outside in her princess dress, playing ball with the boys and riding her bike. She has also worn a princess dress while playing with a train set. She seems well rounded and hasn’t been pegged in the hole of being just girly and sweet and pretty. She wants to do it all, even when it means getting dirty and still be sweet as a princess too! And I’m fine with that!

I didn’t even have to teach her that, she taught me. She said to me recently, “Mommy, I love my Cinderella dress, but it’s hard to run and play in it. I don’t want it to trip me, so I’m taking it off now.” I saw it as a metaphor, that she wants to be pretty and sweet, and she knows there is nothing wrong with that, but she is not letting that hold her back in life or let that be all she is about. Sometimes out of the mouths of babes…

sheila on

I was a princess child. I loved sleeping beauty and snow white when I was young and I turned out all right. i’m in school right now to be an engineer, guess I haven’t been too scarred by princesses LOL

shantyoflove on

We made this amazing discovery of a book a few months ago! Our almost 3 year old loves it, and it works wonders!!

Jay on

“offensive amish comment” Oh FFS, really?

And btw, i work for an animal rescue. 97% of our saves come from puppy mills where animals are tortured by the AMISH. I deal with these “people” on a daily basis.

How they treat their families and their animals is really what should offend you people. Stop clutching your pearls and do some research.

Julie on

Nothing wrong with letting your daughter play princess. As moms we sometimes overthink things. I think you only have a problem when you raise your daughter to be a “princess.”

Also, we can’t forget that as moms we are our daughters first and biggest role model. Be the woman you would want her to be and not blame it or leave it to TV, popstars, and stories.

Courtney Evans on

I saw this post and knew it was written just for me!! Thanks!

I have a 2.5 yr old daughter and have avoided princess stuff and too much pink, etc. I was surprised one day when she identified a “princess” in a book or on a sticker or something. So she’s learning about it somewhere. But as a birthday gift she received a princess dress-up dress and has yet to have anything to do with it…but I have a feeling the day will come… so now I’ll be prepared with this book and the others listed in the comments. Thanks!!

Rebecca Janye on

I gotta comment on this one. I went/am going through the exact same thing with my 3.5 yr old! I didn’t know about that book, but it’s basically what I’ve been doing in terms of “princesses are beautiful ON THE INSIDE” so I’m going to pick it up. It’ll be so validating!

Let’s bring it up a notch though, shall we? Woman are not just well mannered, polite little hostesses. We are also very smart, good problem solvers and higher level thinkers. I remind her that a princess will one day be a queen, and so she must be ready to rule the world! Princesses are excellent at building legos, writing their letters, and problem solving. I address her as “princess xyz” when I want her to really focus on being great!

josy0710 on

This is me! I was a tomboy growing up so when I found out I was having a daughter I did the pink..but NO PRINCESS! My daughter is 1.5 but even now she is EXTREMELY girly…lovess to be in dresses and pretty shoes..loves brushing her hair in the mirror! We are disneyland annual pass holders and one day she saw a princess dress at the store and said “WOWWWW” stood there in front of it for like 5 minutes just touching it. Next time we went to disneyland she went as snow white SHE LOOKED SO CUTE! so I think I have lost this battle …at 1.5 years old! I will make sure to get this book as I have also thought of putting my own spin on things and turning it into a positive.

MommytoanE on

The princesses…particularly the ones Disney highlights, are only as vain as YOU make them out to be. If you really look at all the princesses, they are wholesome, good girls with good morals, good hearts and goodness just spills from them. Look at Belle…at tomboyish girl, who loved books and her father….who gave her self to the beast to protect her father, and to let her father live his life….and yet she fell in love with him, ugliness and all. Because the truth of it all is that beauty is found within. ALL the princesses pretty much have the same stories. Sure there are some selfish ones out there. But there are selfish humans too and selfish super heros.

THANKFULLY the princess stage is short lived. My daughter is 10 and completely over disney princesses and has been for two years at least. Now its onto preteen years. Yey.

Lynette on

i’ve never understood the “anti-princess” mentality that so many mothers try to instill. My daughter had a princess phase and I encouraged it. They don’t stay in the princess phase forever and she is almost through it. Plus, the princesses are all very scrappy, resourceful and have to adversity or tragedy. They have to overcome. Maybe it is the idea of the “princess” that mothers want to avoid. I love watching the strong princesses that are in the movies – especially the new ones but the old ones too. Belle, Arielle, Snow White, Cinderella, Tiana. I think they are good role models for my daughter. Disney has an ad right now about what a princess is and it is promoting strong girls and leaders. That is what a princess is to me and what I hope a princess is to my daughter.

J on

I have a friend who constantly crows about how her daughter claims she hates princesses with a passion. I have never heard the daughter once say anything of the sort and have that attitude, it’s all mommy prodding her to hate them. It makes no sense, she lets the girl play with the Disney fairy collection yet she refuses to let her play with princesses.

madison16 on

I have to admit as a child who was obsessed with dressing like I princess; yet I was also a tomboy and spent 15 years playing soccer. I earned a soccer collegeship. I loved wearing pink, but I could perform a hat trick like none other I know. My father was proud I packed duct tape in my soccer bag and my mother was proud to make me a prom dress that mirrored Belle’s in “Beauty and the Beast”.

Monica on

Thank you! Going to the store to buy that book tomorrow. My youngest just turned 3 and I know the terrible 3’s are imminent and if I can head them off at the pass, I will certainly try.

My oldest was into to “boy” things from day one- cars/trucks, dinosaurs, Cars the movie, Toy Story, and we were totally fine with it, never pushing gender specific toys either way. It wasn’t until she went to preschool that she learned the difference between “boy” things and “girl” things.

I was sad because I felt like society had pressured her into liking girly things. I guess that’s how it goes tho. Now at 5 she is all about the Princesses.

My youngest on the other hand was a girly girl from the get go which is funny because altho we had a few girly toys, we had mainly “boy” toys from our oldest. She sought out the girly toys and was playing dress up from 12 mos up.

Everything my oldest hated and avoided, she had to have- dress up clothes, jewelry, hair bows. Just shows how each kid is different.

Samantha on

Another great book is Princesses Wear Glasses! When I was little I wore glasses and I hated it because I thought I could never be a princess, because no princesses wear glasses. A lot of my cousins’ children are starting to get glasses, and I always recommend this book to parents. There is also a princess dress up kit.

Here’s the link to the book on Amazon:

Bebe on

So glad you’re back!! I loved reading about your Princess battle lol! Gave me a good in-sight of what’s to come with my 15 month old. I’m bracing myself for the terrible twos because they seem to be starting early!! She isn’t into the Princess stuff yet and I think it’s because she has a 6yr old brother who is all about Super Heros so she plays with him and his toys. But eventually we will get to the girlie stuff…actually looking forward to it after 3 boys and a ton of nephews. My daughter is only the 2nd girl to be born in 15 yrs. in our family of boy domination. I’m ready for Princess Power!

Tee Tee on

I’m old order Mennonite and Constance’s comment was not offensive to me at all! Not altogether sure how it could be considered a slur.

On the other hand, Jay’s comment is extremely out of line. Jay, you obviously know little to nothing about the Plain community. Just because we choose to live in the world but not of the world does not give you the right to consider us sub human.

Anonymous on

I’m anti princess and swear I’m the only one. My grandparents are from Ireland. My grandfather was in the IRA. As I see it, there is no way in hell I would want to be associated with royalty and no way I would want my daughter to be. After what the royals and Brits have done to the Irish…NEVER.

But to each their own. I don’t see anything wrong w/dressing up – I just have an issue w/how the title gets thrown around.

Barbara on

Relax mommies everywhere. Your little princesses will grow out of it and they will wear something else besides pink again. And always keep in mind that within15 years from now, when they will be all moody, die their hair blue and wear nothing but black we all will think: aww the princess phase used to be so cute!

Karen on

My daughter will just look at me and say, “I don’t want to be a princess right now” ….and continue the horribly annoying thing she was doing. Kid 1 Mom 0..

Erin on

Hate to nitpick- Wonder Woman is a princess.