Is Mom Nagging Too Much? Now You Can Rent a New One

by Kristin Wong /  / Updated 
Image: Nina Keneally
Nina Keneally on her bike in Brooklyn's Bushwick neighborhood.Special to NBC News

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When life gets hairy, it’s nice to confide in Mom. The problem is, you want the comfort and reassurance, not the guilt trips, nagging and unsolicited advice.

But what if you could get the good without the bad?

That’s the idea behind NeedaMom, a Brooklyn service aimed at giving maternal support to 20- to 35-year olds, both men and women, for $40 an hour.

Nina Keneally, 63, a former theater producer, drug rehab counselor and mother of two sons, said she came up with the idea for a mother for hire after meeting young adults through her yoga class, her kids, volunteering in an arts program and even walking her dog in the Bushwick community where she lives.

Image: Nina Keneally
Nina Keneally.Special to NBC News

“We talk, and sometimes they ask my help and advice, she said. “I figured there must be others out there who could use a temporary mom without the baggage.”

Keneally offers an ear or a shoulder to cry on for young people who might be homesick, heartbroken, or dealing with other issues. She’s not a housekeeper, but she will help with small errands, like planning a party. A few of the NeedaMom tasks she’s completed are offering relationship and career advice, accompanying a client to the doctor and editing a resume. She said she offers a $10 discount for new clients and has some flexibility in her pricing.

“If someone is in dire financial straits, I'm willing to negotiate a bit,” Keneally said.

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Keneally said her experience raising Zeb, 29, a visual artist, and Eli, 27, a photographer, while her husband was working nights, weekends and holidays as a stagehand, helped prepare her to lend an impartial ear to someone who may not have anyone to confide in.

“They are all great, smart, ambitious and hard-working but sometimes just need some perspective or hard-earned life wisdom,” she said.

She also offered a few words of advice for those of us with well-intentioned, but sometimes difficult, mothers.

“Agree with them as much as possible, thank them for their love and concern and then do whatever you think is best for you,” she said.

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