Ok, I’m doing this because I would have found this extremely useful when trying to decide! I was not paid or anything, just wanted to share.
I bought an Erin Condren Life Planner last year, after several recommendations. That lady has a cult following and for good cause: the planners really are sweet. They have so much useful space and I love the layout. My planner served me well and made my life a lot easier, and I have loved it.
However, and this is a big BUT for me: they are expensive. When I bought one last year, I bought it at a significant discount because it was spring (I got a late start on getting my act together… #blamethebaby). This year, I really wanted to get one again but even with a $10 discount code, it was going to cost me at least $60. That is a hefty price tag.
When I was researching planners last year, I came across the Mothers Who Know (or Mormon Mom) Planner and it looked like exactly what I needed. Unfortunately, they were out of production for the rest of the year. This is a small, mom-owned business that from what I can tell is basically run out of her basement. From the website:
“I am a mother of 6 young children ranging from age 12 down to 4 months. I enjoy being a mother and wife. It can be very challenging trying to keep up with 7 people and their different needs and also all of the responsibilities that go along with being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
I heard a talk given by Julie B. Beck talking about deliberate parenting and also about being “Mothers who know“, like the mothers of the 2000 stripling warriors. I believe this planner can help us reach that goal by helping us to be more deliberate and in the know of what is happening in our own families and encouraging us to study out and seek things of a better in small and simple way.”
Does deliberate motherhood ring a bell? Just what I needed. But again, it was too late to get one. So I sort of set it aside and got an EC Life Planner, and I was thrilled with it. But now of course I would have to pay full price, and I also wasn’t really in love with the designs (well I loved some of the newer ones, but they are significant price upgrades too). So back to the Mormon Mom Planner. The price is TOTALLY reasonable ($35) and so I went for it. I am here to tell you I am completely sold! Don’t take my word for it, here’s why.
EC Life Planner vs. Mothers Who Know Planner
Size: the Mothers Who Know Planner (I’m just going to abbreviate to MWK from now on) is the same height but a bit narrower, which is nice — on the other hand that means a little less space for calendars and the layout.
The MWK one is quite a bit thicker, on the other hand. It has note pages, budget sheets, FHE plans and church notes pages at the end of every month, which I really like. You actually have to pay to get more note pages in the EC Planner!
The cover of the MWK is not as sturdy, I will say. On the other hand, it’s not an interchangeable one like the EC covers. They market that as “collect lots of covers, switch them out!” but I found it annoying because 1) it tended to pop off a bit and 2) who spends that much money to personalize and ship extra covers? I never had the desire to do it. Anyway, so the MWK cover is solidly attached but a bit less stiff.
The weekly and monthly layouts are very similar (I’m pretty sure the MWK planner is heavily influenced by the EC one) but the MWK layout is narrower. On weekly layouts you also have some extra little sections for notes, prayer and scripture charts, to-do lists, etc. I like the little prayer/scripture chart, it’s a nice visual. One big difference is the MWK planner starts the week on Sundays instead of Mondays. I hadn’t even realized it until I started using it, and I’m not quite sure how I feel about that, so one thing to consider.
Each new month has inspirational quotes on each one, I like that the MWK one quotes hymns, scriptures or general authorities. The gist of why I like the MWK planner better is it fits my lifestyle better. EC Life Planners have tons of stickers mani/pedi, party and vacation stickers in the back, which is just not very useful for me… it’s tailored to the “thirty flirty and thriving” crowd, basically. And that’s fine, but it means there are a few features I have no need for. (Of course you can personalize EC stickers to say whatever you want, but again, that comes with a price increase) The MWK planner, on the other hand, already has some great tools for me personally. It has all those extra pages I mentioned above, and you can also buy their sheet of stickers with ones for Visiting Teaching, temple, date night, stake conference, etc. I actually bought just the stickers last year (those were still available) and they are really nice and minimalist.
The other thing I could see as a con for the MWK planner is it’s a bit “cutesy” decor-wise. I think the pages could be simplified (the borders are a bit much for example) and that would leave more room for content. On the other hand, it’s pretty cute 😉 And EC planners also have a lot of colors and whimsy, so there’s that.
Here’s a look at some of the unique pages in the MWK planner:
There are budget sheets, church notes sheets, FHE planners…
Monthly cover pages
Good little goal reminder pages
LOVE this: visiting teaching trackers! And there are two pages of this for the special ones with large amounts of sisters to visit 😉
There are also some neat individual spouse and sibling pages at the end for birthday lists and ideas, including charts for clothing sizes, etc. There are six children pages, so if you have more, sorry, you’ve apparently had too many kids, even for a Mormon 😉
And this is a fun little bonus: Book of Mormon reading chart at the end!
There are also pages with copies of the Family Proclamation and Jesus the Christ near the end, always nice to have on hand. And it also has the clear zipper pocket at the back, just like the EC Planner.
Sorry if the pictures are a bit dark, I’m still learning to handle manual settings on my camera… but I figured this would be a helpful comparison for those of you who might be looking! Also there is a non-LDS version of the mom planner available, and non-mom versions as well. You can see plenty more details on their website.
EC Life Planner Pros
- Large, colorful, and clean layout
- The little clip-in ruler/bookmark helps you find your place instantly
- Smart layout
- Week starts on Mondays
EC Life Planner Cons
- Expensive!!! (at least $50, not including $10 in shipping and add-ons that are pretty necessary, like the pen holder)
- Stickers are kind of unrealistic (who needs rows upon rows of Party, mani-pedi and hair salon stickers!)
- Detachable cover tends to pop off
Mothers Who Know Planner Pros
- Basically has all the features of the EC planner (minus the sticker/label sheets) but with added LDS personalization. The EC planner really is awesome, but the MWK planner fits my needs better and has a lot of added value.
- Slightly smaller (narrower)
- Significantly cheaper ($35)
- Awesome stickers (althought they are an extra purchase at $5)
- Great LDS life planning tools (scripture study, gospel goals, family relationship reminders, etc)
- Plenty of note pages included
- You’re supporting a small business 😉
- Cover is not detachable so it’s firmly attached
Mothers Who Know Planner Cons
- There is a ruler, but you have to purchase it and I don’t like that it’s not clear. BUT I just pulled my EC one over, it’s still in pretty good condition and fits!
- Week starts on Sundays
- Slightly smaller (narrower) — it means the layout is a bit narrower too
- The pen holder isn’t included (but it’s not terribly expensive, $4)
- Thicker (I don’t mind, it means more good content, but I could see it being a con for some)
- Pen holder isn’t included either