MAID: HARD WORK, LOW PAY and a MOTHER’S WILL TO SURVIVE by Stephanie Land & Giveaway

GIVEAWAY CLOSED

This Labor Day, something to think about …

maid

“I was overwhelmed by how much work it took to prove I was poor.” MAID
I want to tell you about a book that won’t be published until January, but I believe is very important to get the word out. It’s called MAID (HachetteBookGroup) by Stephanie Land. I had the opportunity to meet Stephanie at BookExpo in May and have been dying to share her story with you, my readers. I hope you’ll be moved, so that you can pre-order her book now on-line or at your favorite local bookstore. It’s important for authors, particularly debut authors to get buzz and pre-orders for their books. I want to do everything possible that I can, so that everyone will read MAID.
“People I talked to rarely assumed I needed food stamps to survive, and they always said “those people” in conversations. Yet “those people” were never people like me. They were immigrants, or people of color, or the white people who were often referred to as trash.” MAID
People you know are on government assistance, or welfare as its commonly known and many receive food stamps, as well. Almost a fifth of our population gets some kind of help from our government, and mostly because they need it. Welfare was created after the Great Depression and at no time in history, has it put a sour taste in many Americans mouths. We live in a time, where its popular to have someone to look down upon or to bully. We often forget that our country was founded by people trying to escape the terror, prejudice and ignorance of those in power. We see it happening on our border today. “They” are trying to take over our country. It’s the parents fault “they are coming into our country.” I’m not arguing for open borders here, I’m suggesting we have some empathy and compassion. I’m suggesting that we who are fortunate to have roofs over our heads and food to eat regularly, so that we don’t go to bed hungry, look upon “the least of my brethern.”

The compassion that Stephanie Land writes about was rarely offered to her and her toddler, Mia. She had to keep her “dirty little secret” of accepting public assistance, by working herself to the point of illness with no healthcare to turn to. Some might read MAID and think it’s nothing but whining and Land knows that may be the feeling some readers come away with. But it’s her story and her struggle. In addition to the contempt she experienced, Stephanie was blessed to come across compassionate Americans – the true America.

The next few paragraphs are provided by Hachette Book Group to describe MAID:

“My daughter learned to walk in a homeless shelter.”

While the gap between upper middle-class Americans and the working poor widens, grueling low-wage domestic and service work–primarily done by women–fuels the economic success of the wealthy. Stephanie Land worked for years as a maid, pulling long hours while struggling as a single mom to keep a roof over her daughter’s head. In Maid, she reveals the dark truth of what it takes to survive and thrive in today’s inequitable society.

While she worked hard to scratch her way out of poverty as a single parent, scrubbing the toilets of the wealthy, navigating domestic labor jobs, higher education, assisted housing, and a tangled web of government assistance, Stephanie wrote. She wrote the true stories that weren’t being told. The stories of overworked and underpaid Americans.

Written in honest, heart-rending prose and with great insight, Maid explores the underbelly of upper-middle class America and the reality of what it’s like to be in service to them. “I’d become a nameless ghost,” Stephanie writes. With this book, she gives voice to the “servant” worker, those who fight daily to scramble and scrape by for their own lives and the lives of their children.

*****

stephanie

It’s been ten years since I escaped an abusive relationship and moved with my then nine-month-old daughter, Mia, into a homeless shelter.

I had two hundred bucks in my pocket and about the same amount in food stamps, and a family who couldn’t help me. Not only that, I was in the middle of a fight for custody of my daughter, and had to fight all over again for child support, all while trying to figure out what I was going to do in this new identity as a single mother.

Eventually I found work cleaning houses, a job that afforded me little money to spend on clothes, even for work. I worked through illnesses and brought my daughter to day care when she was sick, and should have been home with me. There was no sick pay, no vacation days, no foreseeable increase in wage, and yet I begged to work more. Wages lost from missed work hours could rarely be made up, and if I missed too many I risked being fired. My car’s reliability was vital, since even a flat tire could throw us off, knock us backward, and send us teetering toward homelessness again. We lived, we survived, in that careful imbalance. This was my unwitnessed existence, as I polished another’s to make their’s appear perfect.

Those times that we really struggled, when I went to bed exhausted, cold, and hungry, I felt suffocating amounts of guilt. Every time my car broke down or I lost a day of work, I felt incredibly guilty for pursuing an education–especially an art degree. I felt like our life couldn’t afford me this notion of being a writer. But one of my professors, the one who assured me my essay “Confessions of the Housekeeper” would be a book, said that knowing I wanted to be a writer since I was ten-years-old was really incredible, and a version of dedication she’d never seen before.

For years, for almost a decade, we barely scraped by like that as I worked my way through college. In May, 2014, I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Montana, and eventually started a career as a freelancer, supporting my family purely from writing words. A year later, my essay about cleaning houses was published on Vox. It went viral, catching the attention of Jeff Kleinman, an agent at Folio Literary Agency. In 11 months, I accepted an offer from Hachette Books to publish my memoir MAID.

As a full-time freelancer, I write from personal experience on issues surrounding poverty. I’ve worked with Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed, through her Economic Hardship Reporting Project, who said in her foreword for MAID, “If this book inspires you, which it may, remember how close it came to never being written. Stephanie might have given into despair or exhaustion; she might have suffered a disabling injury at work. Think too of all the women who, for reasons like that, never manage to get their stories told. Stephanie reminds us that they are out there in the millions, each heroic in her own way, waiting for us to listen.”

Currently, I continue to work as a freelancer and as a writing fellow through both the Center for Community Change and EHRP. My writing has appeared in The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Salon, The Nation, and many other platforms. I remain active in fighting to change stigmas surrounding people in poverty, especially single mothers. I know now, more than ever, my story of making ends meet despite low wages, high costs of housing, and a broken system of government assistance, needs to be told. Please know how sincerely grateful I am for everything you have done and will do to help me share my story. Thank you.

Please connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

*****

Thanks to Hachette Book Group we’re able to provide one copy of MAID for one reader. Just tell us your experience with either hiring or being a maid.

We’ll announce a winner soon. Good luck.

Be sure to pre-order your copy on-line or at your favorite local independent bookstore. FYI: I’ll be doing another giveaway closer to the January 29, 2019 publication.

GIVEAWAY: USA only please.

ENJOY YOUR LABOR DAY HOLIDAY!

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21 thoughts on “MAID: HARD WORK, LOW PAY and a MOTHER’S WILL TO SURVIVE by Stephanie Land & Giveaway

  1. I was a maid for a small motel near me. The owner was fantastic to work for. We gave him the tips, he double them, and then distributed them by the number of hours each of us worked. The bad customers on the other hand, give a bad name to all of them.

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  2. I cleaned houses as one of my part time jobs while raising two children on my own with no child support. I worked a full time office job, no health insurance, no retirement benefits. In addition, I cleaned the office I worked in, a few houses, and sometimes was a barmaid. It was rough. Rough. But we survived.

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  3. I’ve never been a maid. I can’t imagine how hard it would be. I’m sure it’s very tiring and is hard on your body. I’m thankful that we have public assistance. My son’s appreciation for it began in college. He used the public transportation every day to get to school. I wish others did not look down on those who need help. We never know when we could be in a situation where we need help. The book sounds great!

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  4. My mother was — and still is — a maid. She worked in a military hotel from the time I was about 8 years old. When someone gave her a tip or left behind a bag of chips for her, we celebrated! When I was a teen, she also cleaned new vacancies in the apartment building where we lived. I often helped her, and that’s when I learned how hard she worked. I make sure I always, ALWAYS, leave a tip when we stay at a hotel. My mom’s long hours were necessary to provide for us, and it helped me learn the value of a good worth ethic. It also allowed me get to a place where I could be self-sufficient.

    We have hired maids for our home a couple of times when a single mother asked for work. I respect a maid’s desire to make her family’s life better through hard work, and try to make her life a little easier by not demanding too much when we employ them.

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  5. I have never been a maid or hired one before. I can’t inagine the grueling work it must be to clean other people’s homes everyday and do back breaking chores. I know the maids thst clean hotel rooms have a tight schedule and are expected to clean a certain amount of rooms in a little time frame. I would love the chance to read this book.

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  6. I’ve never hired a maid or been one, but I have taught ESL classes to people who are hotel maids.
    They talk about recent changes which allow guests to opt out of daily maid services in exchange for perks. Because some guests do opt for this, hours have been reduced for the maids. In addition, when they do clean these rooms, it takes longer resulting in lower wages and reduced tips.

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  7. My stepsister is a housekeeper she also left an abusive relationship with three children. She raised them all by herself no child support being a housekeeper. To this day she still does it. My mother was also a maid in Germany while trying to raise me. Then in her later years she moved to Florida and became a maid to the rich down there in order to make ends meet after her and my stepfather divorced. Thank you for the chance.

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  8. I have been a maid for many years. Cleaning my house, my d-in-l house, cooking, slaving and helping with the household chores.

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  9. have never hired a maid.
    i used to clean apartments when my oldest 2 kids were young. at the time, i could set my hours a bit (as long as job was done by certain date). it was hard work, but it was only way i could earn some money at the time. i saw alot, learned alot and made cleaning my house easier.

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  10. I have had a maid—house cleaner for several years off and on. They helped so much while I was working full time in a job I loved. I could spend all my Off time being off because of these lovely ladies. I treasure them as they do work I physically can’t do anymore.

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  11. My family used to hire a maid when I was younger (child to teenager) and we really appreciated her job. As an adult, I appreciate even more their jobs because they really help me out a lot! And sometimes we become friends.

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  12. I’ve never hired a maid but I’ve kinda been one. I’ve been a school custodian for a couple years and goodness it’s a messy job. Most everyone is thankful for the work you do but you do run into a few bad eggs here and there.

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  13. I took a job as a maid in a small, run down motel and quit at the end of the first day. I am looking forward to your novel.

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