Being a mom is one of the toughest yet most rewarding jobs. Your kids expect you to be there for them no matter how old they are. As a mom of three teenagers and a 21-year old, I’m well beyond the years of changing diapers and breastfeeding. But my children still expect me to be right there when they need me.

When my kids were younger we had a lot of fun together. Outside of trips to museums, amusement parks and the beach, we went to the library every week for story time, had play dates with other moms and their kids and we attended regular Mocha Moms family outings. Every Friday night was Family Night; we would spread a comforter on the living room floor and eat dinner while we watched a movie or played board games. Those were the days. Sometimes I think about those days and I wonder where the time went.

Even though they are older, my kids still need me and we enjoy spending quality time together. I have to be honest – most of the time I feel more like an ATM machine, a personal chef and a taxi cab, but I also get that the duties of motherhood change as children grow up and become more independent. It’s totally normal for them to hang out with their friends more than with their mom.

I’m still big on family time, so I discovered a cool way that we can still hang out. A few months ago I put a twist on Family Night and included their friends. Each child was allowed to have a couple of friends over. We had a ball! I ordered pizza, we listened to music and danced (the kids had a good time making fun of my old school dance moves) and we made homemade sundaes. We don’t do it every week, but it’s fun when we all get together.

the boys

My daughter loves to go shopping (not many teenage girls don’t), so that’s our time to hang out and have fun together. I tend to leave the boys at home as they’re always ready to go way before we are.

Me & Ni at Mall

I encourage you to give your children the freedom they need to grow up and experience things. It may be a little hard to let go, but it will help them develop into healthy adults. Yes – this was tough for me at first. I didn’t like the idea of dropping my kids off at the roller rink or at a party where I only met the parents a few minutes before, but it was ok. I said a prayer each time and they always had a ball without having any issues.

I’ve learned to cherish the time we spend together as they get older. It’s more fun for me because they’re not as needy. Plus I really like them – they’re funny and each have their own personalities, which makes our time together quite interesting.

How do you spend quality time with your teenagers? Is the time you spend more enjoyable now that your kids are older and less needy?