BY LAURA CALDERON
Nina Keneally, a Brooklyn, New York based mother of two, made headlines nationwide last October when she made the decision to offer her mothering skills to young adults throughout the city and the interest hasn’t waned since.
Keneally’s booming new business, NeedAMom, caters to 20 to year olds who need a mother without the nagging, guilt tripping and emotional baggage some associate with biological ones.
Keneally says that her service is for those who need a Mom, just not their Mom. Keneally offers a list of services that are usually done by any mother for her child. Whether giving criticism-free advice over a cup of coffee, patiently waiting with you at the doctor’s office or preparing a home cooked meal, Keneally is open to helping in whatever field she can but hopes to make it clear that she is not to be mistaken for anyone’s maid.
Struck with the idea after giving advice to her yoga class of young college students, Keneally began charging her services for $40 an hour with an additional traveling fee for any client residing outside of Brooklyn. Most recently, Keneally has added a texting session where you can send her messages directly for 30 minutes a day.
At the County College of Morris the concept of renting someone else’s mother to momentarily be yours is a foreign and has stirred some debate across campus. Shannon Dean, a hospitality management major at CCM feels the business is an extraordinary idea for young adults who find themselves far from home and in need of a parental figure from time to time.
“I’m extremely close with my Mom,” said Dean, “And I can’t imagine what it would be like not to have her by my side everyday. She helps me make decisions and form opinions. So if someone is willing to help those who don’t have a parent physically there that’s amazing. I mean, there’s big brother and big sisters programs – how is this any different?”
However, liberal arts major, Catherine Brown feels Keneally’s attempt to be a mother to all is a strange concept.
“Hiring someone to pretend to be your mother is just wrong,” said Brown, “ No matter the situation – how much you spend or what you do together this woman is not your mother. Paying her will only make you miss your real mom. The whole process is kind of a waste of time.”
Keneally’s business has brought up numerous questions on the County College of Morris campus. What is considered appropriate and inappropriate along the lines of offering help to someone else’s child feel a sense of comfort?
“New York is a one of the biggest cities in the world,” said fashion merchandising major, Crislaura Tatis, “ And it holds a huge youth population. Many individuals are away from home and don’t have a sense of family so I could see why NeedAMom is such a success business. It’s selfless and helps so many people just genuinely feel better. But I think paying for it is what makes it so creepy. Like if I just need a hug, do I really need to hand over my credit card for that?”