Mom for rent: $40 buys you an hour of motherly care and judgment-free advice

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LONDON: Do you not have a mum? Or have a mum but she’s far away? Or have a mum but you don’t like her? Do you have $40 to spare? Then you can now rent yourself a mum.
Nina Keneally has established a business in New York City renting out her services as a mother. She’ll listen to you talk about your problems. Make you some soup. Watch a movie with you.
After moving to the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bushwick two years ago, Keneally, 63, found that the youth in the famously hipster neighbourhood would often seek out her advice.
“As I got engaged in living here I ran into many of these young people,” she said.
Much of the appeal, according to Keneally, is that people can speak to her about issues they might not be able to discuss with an actual parent. Relationships. Their career. Or making alternative lifestyle choices, like becoming a vegan or deciding to become a goth or listening to Ryan Adams.
“I found many of them started just talking to me. I also heard many people talking to their friends about things they couldn’t talk to their parents about.”
With that, Need a Mom was born. Prospective clients contact Keneally through her website. They chat over email before deciding if they want to meet up for some maternal bonding.
I decided to enlist Need a Mom’s services. She made me some toast. It was nice. She made me a cup of tea. It was also nice. We talked at length about some issues I am facing. Specifically a problem with one of my teeth, my quest for warm socks, and my love life.
Keneally was helpful. The tooth will be fine. I should invest in SmartWool socks. I should be myself on dates. I came away imbued with a sense of motherly love.
As you might expect, and hope, Keneally has maternal experience. She has two sons, aged 30 and 27. She has also worked as a drug and rehabilitation counsellor, although she stresses she is not a therapist or doctor.
Business is picking up, Keneally says. She has a couple of regular clients, and has been receiving many requests.
A couple have been a little unusual, however. A 58-year-old man contacted her seeking to enlist her services. At 63, Keneally felt she might not quite be the mother figure he was seeking.
Another prospective client wanted her to fly to Europe for a several-day intensive mothering session. She decided against it.

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