Thursday, September 22, 2011

How a 17-Year-Old "Planner Girl" Hopes to Empower Mothers

When I was 17, my planner and I were inseparable.  I carried it around my high school, clutching it safely to my left side--always ready to add a drama rehearsal to my calendar or a chemistry assignment my daily checklist.  Some people called me the "planner girl," and I considered that a huge compliment.

Twice, I skipped school to attend FranklinCovey seminars, where I sat in the front row and studiously took notes on how to get the most out of my daily planning sessions.  Sometimes it felt a little odd to be in large conference rooms with mainly corporate executives, but whenever I could spend time discussing time management, calendaring, vision statements, and goal-setting, I was in my element.

At one of the FranklinCovey seminars, I met Anthony Robbins.  I'd listened to his cassette tapes about "Awakening the Giant Within," and I was so excited to take my picture with him.  Do I look a little star struck?

Anthony Robbins and April Perry, FranklinCovey Seminar 1996
Fast-forward 16 years: My planner and I are still inseperable, but now that I'm a mother to four young children, life has taken on an entirely new rhythm.

Instead of sleeping in until 11 on Saturdays (yes, I'm embarrassed to admit that, but I did), I'm usually up before 6.   Instead of planning dance parties with friends or trying to figure out the best way to boost my college resume, I'm soaking rawhide in the backyard for my daughter's sixth grade project, changing the fifth load of laundry for the day, and trying to figure out who can pick up one child from scouts while another child needs to be at a music practice.

My task lists aren't centered on "me" anymore; it's my husband and family who are my top priorities.

Sometimes I miss the life of that girl in the photo.  Motherhood is so much harder than I thought it would be, but when I look at these faces and realize what part I play in giving them a great start in life, I know that there's nothing more important.

While my main mission in life is to care for my family, I also feel like I have a special assignment--to help mothers get organized.  

We surveyed over 200 mothers in our Power of Moms Community this week and asked them what is most stressful in their lives.  Their answers were achingly similar:
  • Never getting to do my projects because of the mess
  • Paperwork!  I can't keep up with it
  • My children!  Not enough time in the day
  • I feel overwhelmed by all the information and papers, and I don't know where to begin to tackle the mountain-load
  • Piles of stuff everywhere!
  • Feeling behind in everything
  • My depression and trying to raise a family
  • MESS.  I can't get ahead.  I am maintaining my mess!!!
  • All the papers that come home from school are overwhelming
  • Keeping my house clean and making time for fun
  • All of my different responsibilities--trying to keep them in balance is stressful
  • More tasks than time
  • Keeping up with daily tasks; not getting to the things that matter most 
  • Finances and credit card debt
  • Being sick and still being a mom
  • My child with special needs
  • Having too much on my plate; not meeting everyone's expectations
As I read these survey results, my heart could feel the pain that these good mothers are experiencing, and I could totally relate.  For many years, I felt so stressed about all of my family responsibilities.  I had some difficult (and very painful) health problems, I was up at least twice a night, and I would walk around my house thinking about how everyone and everything needed my attention at the same time.

But then I started reading . . . and reading . . . and applying what I read.  And now, while I still have a lot on my plate, I don't have the same stress.  I fall asleep easily, my house is in order, I don't have papers on my counter, and I feel like I can really be present with my children (even though tonight I'd completely "had it," and I kind of sent them to bed with a grumpy voice.  Just wanted to be honest).

The main way I'm teaching moms to get organized is through the Mind Organization for Moms program we offer at The Power of Moms, but if you'd like to see the "baby steps" version of the program, we've put it into a simple eBook and webinar, and we call it Five Steps to Less Stress.

Click here to register for our free Power of Moms Member Package, where you can download your complimentary copy of the Five Steps to Less Stress eBook.

Click here for the Five Steps to Less Stress Webinar (also totally free).

And if you find this helpful, please pass it on.  My main goal is to empower mothers and enable them to really enjoy their families by helping them to organize and prioritize.

You'll be helping to fulfill the dream of a 17-Year-Old Planner Girl.



  1. Love it, April! I didn't know you met Anthony Robbins! So fun! Love the photo!

  2. Thanks April! I really needed this right now. Heavenly Father may have even led me to this website. I have two small children, 14 months apart. A 3 and almost 2 year old. I literally cannot go to bed without my house being clean, the downstairs at least. I feel like I am constantly picking up messes, and trying to organize, only to discover that I am not as organized as I thought I was. I want to cherish these years with my sweet children, and I do, I just need to learn how to do it better. I want to be so many things, especially a good mother. I want to wake up early, go to bed early, have a focused mind, a clean house, and a closeness to God. It is all so overwhelming. I wonder if I will ever be where I want to be and become who God wants me to be. I'll keep checking your posts, and I'll also read the 5 steps to less stress. I'm so glad I found you! Thankyou!

  3. Mary, you have a heart of gold, and I have full confidence in your ability to organize your home and enjoy your children in the process. Your children are SO young. It will get a thousand times easier when they're not dumping everything upside down. They'll be so much more helpful in the future. One thought that might help is this motto I keep for my house: "Clean enough to be healthy, messy enough to be happy." I used to obsess over my house being ultra-clean, and it put a lot of pressure on me with young children. By relaxing a bit, I was able to enjoy the children much more. I had to keep saying, "My home is not a reflection of my worth. It's okay if everything isn't perfect." God helps us. He is so good. Wishing you the best, and so glad to have you as a part of The Power of Moms! Love, April


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