Brooklyn woman offers motherly advice in role of 'mom for rent'

Thursday, November 26, 2015
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There are times when we all could use some motherly advice, especially during the holidays.

NEW YORK (WPVI) -- No one gives advice quite like Mom. But for many people, Mom may be far away, or no longer with us, and we miss out on that family comfort.

But now a woman in Brooklyn is there to help fill that void.

Bushwick may be known as a hipster haven, but two years ago Nina Keneally moved there from suburban Connecticut.

She's a former Broadway producer who at the age of 63 has found a new role. She's a mom for rent.

"Every once in awhile you just have to sit down across a table and hash things out," she said.

Nina has two grown sons, one also lives in Bushwick. And she realized that during her time in yoga class, at cafes or out and about, people were gravitating to her.

"People started to open up to me about issues in their lives, looking for feedback and perspective, and just wanted to talk about what was going on," she said.

Natalie Chan is one of those people. They often meet at Natalie's company, Bat House, and discuss business matters, and matters of the heart.

"She's kind of like a shrink, plus mentor, plus mother," said Natalie.

Natalie's own mother died when Natalie was 20.

"I realize I didn't have a female role model in my life to talk about things. I have a lot of girlfriends, I have a sister. It's not quite the same," she said.

Nina helps to fill that void.

"I think love is too strong of a word. I think she cares and that's nice, that's nice since that's more than a business relationship," said Natalie.

Nina does have professional experience as a counselor. For 8 years she worked with drug and alcohol users in rehab.

"I can be a little tough when it looks like someone's maybe doing down a bad path. I might ask them to examine what the ramifications of this might be, in a serious way," said Nina.

But Nina is quite warm and even huggable. She'll even help you darn a sweater or make you chicken soup. But even this mom draws the line at some requests.

"You know mothers always say I'm not your maid, and in my case I'm also not your maid," she said with a laugh.

Nina's initial rate is $30 an hour. She doesn't accept all clients. And if there are issues out of her realm, she will decline or help the client find the right expert or doctor.

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