Dear Jess: How do I balance babysitting my grandchildren and living my own life?

I have my hands full with my grandchildren.
I have my hands full with my grandchildren. Photo: Stocksy

Q. I look after my three-year-old grandson one day a week and pick all three grandchildren up after school/daycare on another afternoon. I love spending time with them and I want to help my daughter, who works. However, she is asking more of me, including having the kids to sleep over. It's exhausting. How do I strike the balance between being there and maintaining my own life?

A. Gorgeous Grandma, you are an absolute superstar! Little people are exhausting, and you're doing more than enough to help out. It's important to start saying no, and I understand that can be difficult (I'm appalling at saying that two-letter word). '

Recently, a friend introduced me to the idea of the "gracious no". Try saying to your daughter, the next time she asks for your help, "Just let me check my diary." That gives you breathing space. Then get back to her and say, "I've got something on but I'd love to help out another time."

Jessica Rowe answers your questions.
Jessica Rowe answers your questions. Photo: Damian Bennett

Give it a go, otherwise you risk feeling resentful. 

Q. My children are slightly above average in intelligence. I always thought as long as they applied themselves at school that would be enough. However, it seems every second child gets tutored these days, even if they're only slightly behind. Am I putting them at a disadvantage by letting them muddle through alone?

A. Panic-Free Parent, I like your style. Don't let the approach of others impact on what is right for you and your family. There's already enough pressure on kids without organising extra tutoring, especially if your children are going along happily at school.

You don't have to make life more frantic by scheduling tutors for students who are coping in the classroom. Back yourself and your parenting approach.

These answers are simply my views, and I am far from perfect. I struggle through some days better than others with the help of my family, cats, chocolate and antidepressants. Unfortunately, I cannot personally reply to questions.

Contact me via Instagram: @jessjrowe. Twitter: @JessRowe.