Whether you’re 2 or 42, you’re never too old to need your mom. No one knows this better than Nina Keneally, who is making a living by hiring out her “professional mom” skills.
Keneally is the founder of the blossoming New York City-based business Need A Mom. As a rent-a-mom, Keneally will come to you and do everything you need a mom to do: listen to your breakup woes, iron your shirt, make you a cup of coffee, bake you a pecan pie, and even edit your resume. Keneally, a 63-year-old mother of two adult sons, provides a mother’s touch for $40 an hour — without the judgment.
While Need A Mom is still in the early stages (it was officially launched last week after Keneally moved back to New York City from Connecticut) this pro mom is slowly building her client base. Keneally said she was inspired to start the unique business as she started to get to know her Brooklyn neighbors, all young people looking for a mature and trustworthy shoulder to lean on (and some help walking their dogs from time to time). As an antidote to the loneliness and parental disconnect so many twenty and thirty-somethings experience after leaving the nest, Keneally found her niche.
Laugh all you want about a sweet older lady who will let you pay her to take you shopping at Whole Foods, but there’s a reason Keneally’s mobile mom service is taking off. It’s a business principle that is as old as time: supply creates its own demand. In Keneally’s case, she’s offering a highly in-demand service that most grown-ups are too afraid to ask for but so desperately need. No matter how old you get you’re always going to need a soft place to land.
And that’s only what lies on the surface of Keneally’s business plan. If you look a little closer, you’ll see that Keneally is making an important move on behalf of “professional” moms everywhere. She’s showing the 29 percent of stay-at-home moms that they have a valuable place in the workforce using their own marketable skills.
Even though we’ve seen a rise in the stay-at-home mom after several decades in decline, becoming a full-time mom and potentially giving up a booming career isn’t an easy decision for any woman to make. And yet, millions of women do it anyway for a huge assortment of reasons — the baby years are too precious, childcare costs too much, and sometimes they just want to. Women who have taken a few years to “lean out” are often told that leaving the workforce is a move their career may never recover from.
We can all give a virtual cheer for Keneally because she’s proving everybody wrong. Like so many women before her who have worn the mom hat, Keneally has an impressive real-world resume with experience in theater and state government. Keneally also spent decades attending soccer games, taking kids to karate, helping with homework, planning birthday parties, and even providing support during those unpleasant parenting moments — like picking her sons up at the police station. It’s these invaluable life skills that Keneally has chosen to make a successful career out of.
As cute as the Need A Mom concept may be, it’s a big boost for moms everywhere. In the event that returning to the workforce isn’t for you, or if you’ve had too many doors slammed in your face, there’s still a glimmer of hope. Keneally is living proof that the world still needs moms more than ever (and they may even be willing to pay for their services).More On