The ‘Rent-a-Mom’ Phenomenon: Meet the Substitute Mom for University Students

In an era where young adults often find themselves studying far from home, a unique service known as Concierge Service for Students (CSS) has emerged, providing a surrogate maternal figure for students navigating the challenges of life away from their families. Tammy Kumin, the founder and driving force behind CSS, acts as a “mom away from mom” for students in 9-1-1 situations, offering a comprehensive support system.

Established in 1993, CSS caters to both U.S. and international students in the Northeast, with a yearly fee of $10,000. The service extends far beyond the typical concierge offerings, encompassing food deliveries, academic assistance, beauty appointments, dinner reservations, gym memberships, apartment hunting, and even assistance with health and legal matters. Operating from Massachusetts, Kumin and her team of four “moms” are available 24/7, ready to step in as substitute parents when the need arises.

“I’m a mom away from mom — a total support system for students,” Kumin, the founder of CSS, told The Post.

The service isn’t limited to practical tasks; it also provides emotional support and a sense of family for homesick scholars. Vetting local “errand runners” helps fulfill basic requests like grocery and laundry services for those studying outside the Boston area. For significant issues, such as health concerns or legal troubles, Kumin personally takes charge.

CSS Staff

“We get kids in pre-boarding schools, boarding schools, or college,” she said, “and we take care of their practical needs, medical needs, mental health needs, and beyond.”

Despite the hefty price tag, CSS has become a lifeline for many students. Clients, who have primarily come through word-of-mouth referrals, attest to the genuine care and support they’ve received. Salman Al Kabbani, who used CSS for a decade, highlighted the emotional safe space it provided when he first moved to the U.S. from Saudi Arabia as a 16-year-old.

Al Kabbani has kept in touch with Tammy and the moms over the past 20 years. (CSS Staff)

The service goes beyond the academic years, maintaining contact with former clients well into adulthood. Personal anecdotes from individuals like Al Kabbani and Alexander Hochberg emphasize the lasting impact and emotional connection forged through CSS. Kumin dismisses concerns that the service might hinder students’ development into self-sufficient individuals, asserting that CSS is there to be lifelong friends, offering peace of mind to both students and their families.

New York Post