Motherhood is a lifelong job. You can't just quit when your kids reach legal age, right? You could “let go” of your kids when they start squirming out of your embrace or dodging your kisses in public. You can breathe a little easier when they're finally on their own, right? Yes and no. Because, really, you’re secretly still going to worry about how they’re doing, or you’re still going to do a little favor here and there for them (or your grandkids!).
But what if instead of calling you, they “hire a mom” instead? Ouch.
Well, a New York company offers such a unique service to young adults. Nina Keneally recently launched Need A Mom, wherein she herself offers to fulfill mommy duties sans the judge-y comments and constant nagging. Its tag line: “When you need a mom… just not YOUR mom.”
On its website, she promises her clients that she will “listen to you over a cup of joe, hot chocolate, or wine,” review your resumé and iron your shirt for that big interview, serve you homecooked meals, and even buy your holiday and birthday presents for your real mom—she'll even wrap and ship it, too. It’s like any real mom, right?
However, she also assures her clients that she “won't question your lifestyle choice or be judgmental about your hair, your wardrobe, your friends, your vegan diet.” She also promises not to expect presents or long phone calls, or take selfies with her client. Again—and sadly this time—just like any real mom, agree?
The sixty-three-year old mom-of-two says she started the company when she moved to Brooklyn, New York, after raising her sons, now ages 27 and 30, in Connecticut. it all began when she talked to random people in yoga class, at the park, anywhere, and found that most young adults just needed somebody to talk to. “I don’t claim to be an expert, but I’ve been around the block enough to be helpful,” she tells Yahoo Parenting. Yes, add "mom advice” to her list of offerings, too. But don't expect her to clean up your meses, literal or otherwise.
If you think about it, her business model makes sense. Instead of talking to psychologists (who can seem too professional) or friends (who can be too attached), Need A Mom falls just right in the middle of those two extremes. No wonder there are people reaching out to franchise her company.
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But what it says about how parents raise their kids today is saddening. Why won’t our kids come to us when they need someone to talk to? There could be a disconnect that happened right from the beginning, and catching that early on could render this kind of mom-for-hire service obsolete and before it reaches our shores.
Psychologist Chris Carandang, who is also a lecturer at the Psychology Department of the University of the Philippines Diliman, and board member of the Philippine Association for Child and Play Therapy or Philplay, enumerates why children might not consider their parents as their go-to guys. Kids may feel afraid to get scolded by their parents, that their parents would tell on them, or that their parents frankly do not have the time to listen to what they have to say. That's could be one reason why some kids are closer to their lolos and lolas, or their titos and titas. Extended family could be considered as moms-for-hire, only they do it without any fees.
As kids grow up, parents need to take a step back and let their kids learn how to be independent. Teach them how to build relationships, acquire life skills, and make good decisions--not set too high expectations or constantly remind them of their shortcomings. Grow with your child as he becomes an adult, and the only way to do this properly is through open communication. As writer Samantha Catabas Manuel says in an article for smartparenting.com.ph, “Let us engage them in healthy talk or discussion on how life is as a grown up. Set the right expectations without dampening their spirits. Be as open and honest as possible and prepare them for every new phase.”
Sources: November 5, 2015. “Need a mom? New service lets you hire one for advice, home-cooked meal” (today.com) November 3, 2015. “Rent-a-Mom Company Makes a Strong Statement About the Role of Motherhood” (yahoo.com)