parent opinion

'The changes I’m making this year as a mum of 3 (that I'll actually stick to).'

Thanks to our brand partner, EveryPlate

At 38 weeks pregnant, I set my out-of-office until mid 2024.

I planned to take 15 glorious months "off". 

I would enjoy the year with my third and final baby, help my eldest settle into school, travel with my family, and finally, enjoy the gap year I never took in my teens/twenties.

I’d be busy, but I’d earned the break from the routine of paid work.

In reality, I was back after 6 months. 

I’d like to say it’s because I missed the intellectual stimulation of employment, but mostly, I missed being able to spend money. Mat leave isn’t much fun when your budget doesn’t include cafe visits, and you can’t justify more than one subscription service. All that time and nothing to watch? That’s just cruel.

Like many people in the last year, our mortgage repayments skyrocketed. The savings account I’d built up to cover my extended career break was sucked up covering the difference, and our weekly grocery bill still makes my eyes water. So, back to work I went. 

I’m not alone. The cost-of-living crisis has changed a lot of people's plans, and I’m lucky I even have a job to return to, and one with a decent amount of flexibility too. But it’s still a juggle to keep life on track (and on budget) at home and work. We don’t have the spare funds to employ at-home “help” or even order canteen lunches on the regular, so I finished the school year feeling exhausted from the constant planning, prepping, and being present. 


It’s no surprise then that I’m obsessed with content about making life easier. 

Lunchbox guides, parenting hacks, CleanTok, capsule wardrobes, meal plans, and 2-step beauty routines.

Anything to make the day-to-day a bit smoother.

As long as it doesn’t require much effort because that defeats the purpose. I’m looking for achievable swaps, not ambitious goals.

Here are the 7 changes I’m making this year that I’ll actually stick to. 

1. No more after-work supermarket trips. 

Our office is RIGHT next to a supermarket, which makes it incredibly tempting to buy food for dinner on the way home from work. Unfortunately, this not only wastes time at the end of the day, putting me perilously close to the daycare late pick-up fee ($50 a minute, OMG) but it also leads to the worst kind of dinners: over-priced and completely mismatched. 

Case in point, sweet chili stirfry paired with Greek marinated lamb skewers. 

Yes, it was as bad as it sounds, and yes I also paid $30 to create that monstrosity. 

$38.65 if you include the kombucha and Mars Bar I inhaled while I shopped, craving sugar at the end of a long workday.

To avoid this type of chaos, I’m trialling EveryPlate this year (my smarter alternative to a last-minute supermarket trip). It’s a low price meal kit service that reduces food fails and food waste by sending only the necessary ingredients for each meal. 


In the past, I’ve always avoided meal kit delivery boxes because they felt a bit boujee for my budget, but EveryPlate saves time AND money with meals from as little as $2.19 per plate thanks to Mamamia’s exclusive discount code MUMHACK.

Beyond the cost saving, it will help me organise our week better with flexible deliveries and a super easy app for picking what dishes we want. Like Tinder for dinners, but instead of bad selfies and awkward one-liners, there are 27 fuss-free 4-step recipes to choose from each week. Yum (and my kids think so too). 

I also like that I can reschedule or skip deliveries depending on my schedule so I’m not stuck in a routine that doesn’t work.

There are lots of vego-friendly options, ‘extra convenient’ meals (ready in 15 minutes or only using one pot) and ‘premium recipes’ for those extra special date nights or at-home entertaining.

2. Dropping my laundry standards. 

Image: Supplied. 


With five humans in our house, I spend a lot of time doing washing and a lot more time putting it away. In between those two activities is a solid 48 hours where "Mount Laundry" slowly builds on our sofa: a pile of clean laundry in a highly visible spot. Intended to motivate my husband or me to put it away, it just becomes a (literal) growing point of resentment.

Last year, we started to experiment with getting our five-year-old to put her own clean clothes away. It wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t even close to folded but you know what? It wasn’t on the sofa anymore. And honestly, who cares if her T-shirt is slightly crumpled, 5 minutes of sweaty playing in the summer heat will steam that right out. So this year, I’m lowering my bar and everyone will be putting away their own clothes. 

3. Buy birthday party presents in bulk.

My kids have entered their birthday party era and I’m so happy for them. I love seeing them build new friendships and cement their school relationships with out-of-hours events. 


They’re fine. It’s me.🎵 Hi, I’m the problem. It’s me.🎵

Anxious about making a good impression on their behalf, I’d bend over backwards to find the perfect gift, custom-picked for each birthday boy and girl. 

Time and money wise that’s a disaster. I’ve spent more hours in the toy section than I care to count. So this year I’m making the most of the sales and bulk buying my go-to gifts: $22 LEGO sets (for top-tier friends) and $10 colouring books (for everyone else).

4. Stop doing weekend sport. 

Image: Supplied. 


I love a celebrity parenting hack, but it’s rare to find one that doesn’t involve throwing money at the problem. When multi-hyphened, multi-tasking queen Chrissie Swan talked about her family weekends on The Imperfects podcast I took note because ours have been getting out of control between ballet, soccer, swimming and play dates. 

Chrissie said, "I stopped the weekend sports. It made them miserable. It made me miserable. None of us were enjoying it. We were doing it, because we were told that we should do it. So instead, we are currently on the hunt for the best butter chicken in Melbourne." 

Print that on a motivational poster because it’s my new mantra. Butter chicken and all.

My rule for this year is no weekend sports. We’ll do them after school instead and keep the weekend free for fun stuff we actually want to do. 

To make sure I don’t replace one over-booking addiction with another, I’m also instigating a policy of only scheduling one activity per day on the weekend. One playdate or lunch out or event per day. That’s it.

5. Bringing naps back.

This year I’m reinstating nap time on the weekend for ALL the kids. Even our five-year-old because she’s started school and she’s exhausted. I fully accept that not everyone will sleep but taking an hour to rest or quietly reading a book in their room will give me a break and heck it’s probably good for them too. 


Stay tuned for how this one goes.

6. Scheduling the gym.

Image: Supplied. 

Another mantra I’m adopting this year: If it’s important to you, schedule it in.

The psychology on this one makes sense. If you commit, whether it’s in a booking platform, your diary, or with your partner, you have a documented plan, so you have to actively cancel to get out of it. This makes you more likely to follow through. 


See also: Date night. See also: Sexy time. 

7. Calling my friends. 

Millennials will get this. After years of spending nights clogging up my family’s landline as a teen, I didn’t call a single person in my 20s. 

Then last year, on mat leave, something wild happened. I started calling my other friends on parental leave for a chat when our hands were full of prams, making lunches, or just holding a grumpy baby. We started to learn each other’s routines: after school drop off, on the afternoon nap walk etc. We’d call each other and have amazing hour-long conversations every single week rather than our usual month of intermittent texting to plan catch-ups that we’d inevitably spend another month rescheduling.

Yes, there was less face-to-face contact, but the connection was just as strong. Plus, we saved the money and time we’d have spent going to a cafe and trying (failing) to connect over and around our children. 

So this year I’m permanently implementing the shift from texting to calling.

You heard it here first: Phone calls for president in 2024.

What else should we be shaking up in 2024? Tell us the changes you’ve made in the comments below.

For tasty and value-for-money meal solutions, use Mamamia code MUMHACK for up to $180 off your first 5 boxes with EveryPlate. 

Feature Image: Supplied. 

Take back control of your grocery bill this year with the meal kit that’s cheaper (and smarter) than the supermarket - EveryPlate! Delivering everything you need for tasty, family-friendly dinners, EveryPlate saves you cash by cutting food waste and frills. With flexible deliveries, you can get back on top of your weekly routine. Plus, with more than 25 four-step recipes to choose from each week, dinner is done in a snap. Smarter cooking, smarter saving - that’s EveryPlate.