MAID: Hard Work, Low Pay, and A MOTHER’s WILL TO SURVIVE by Stephanie Land & Giveaway

GIVEAWAY CLOSED

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’s being published today. I believe it’s a very important book. 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.
“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. Many of those 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 brethren.”

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 might 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.

Say a prayer or send good thoughts out to our fellow Americans, government employees, so the government is shut down again.

GIVEAWAY: USA only please.

Posted in Uncategorized

28 thoughts on “MAID: Hard Work, Low Pay, and A MOTHER’s WILL TO SURVIVE by Stephanie Land & Giveaway

  1. This looks like a very important read. I’ve hired cleaning ladies for my home. My current cleaning lady and her husband (a handy man) work really hard just trying to get by. She’s got 4 kids, all doing really well in school.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve never hired or been a maid but I did work cleaning a few homes as a teenager. I didn’t mind the work but was very uncomfortable in other people’s homes. I felt like I was invading their privacy somehow. My husband has often mentioned hiring a cleaning lady to help me with our housework and I just can’t make myself do it. Not only because of my privacy issue but I know I would want to clean before she got there.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have a cleaning woman who works hard and whom I treat well. I give her goodies I bake, gifts and she is appreciative. Since I have RA it is necessary and she understands.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I had hired a maid once and after he had left I noticed that my elephant sculpture was broken! I was furious not only because it was broken but also because I had paid him and knew that he didn’t let me know about it thinking that he wouldn’t get paid.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I was a single mother of two children and did not receive child support. I worked two and sometimes three jobs at a time. I cleaned houses and offices as a second job for many years. No family that helped me, only to babysit once in awhile. It wasn’t easy, but we all survived.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I cleaned houses when my kids were small. It really was horrible. It’s amazing what people want you to do in 6 hours when they do nothing all week! I really want to read this book! Thank you kindly.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great post!

    Overall I had great experiences with maids – we used to treat each other with respect and I do respect their work. This book should be an eye-opening for us to know deeper their sacrifice and hard work.

    Thanks for the chance!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Some of the students in my ESL class work as hotel maids – from what they have said, it is a job that gets harder each day due to changes in the hotel industry.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I would love to read this–I think it’s a very timely subject as there are lots of people who continue to struggle making ends meet.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I have never hired a maid or been a maid. I know it is a hard and tedious job and they have my full respect to do this kind of work to feed their families.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Never been a maid. Always imagined all maids were like Hazel or Alice on TV. Now I did use Biweekly cleaning service for less than a year during my 30’s when I was a single parent. It was total luxury!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I was a maid at a motel near my home. The owners were fantastic people and treated us as friends. The clientele could be a mixed bag. Some were very appreciative of anything we did, and others left messes and no tips! It was definitely hard work!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Back in the 1980s I was single and living alone in San Diego, California, working for General Dynamics. I fell down at work one day and broke my foot. I’m handicapped, anyhow, so a broken foot meant I couldn’t do much of anything. The worker’s comp insurance provided me with a maid. It’s been so long I forget how often she came. But I do remember that she talked nonstop, even when she saw that I was reading. But she was so nice and jolly, I couldn’t dislike her. I learned something about myself: I don’t like other people going through my cupboards. Even so, since then I’ve always wished I could afford a maid.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’ve cleaned houses before only once a week or two I don’t consider that as being a maid though. Being a maid would be a very hard job.
    Thanks for sharing this book with us 😍❤ Thanks for the chance to win a copy 😃💖😍💗

    Like

  15. I can’t wait to read this book, thank you for sharing your story. I know this is a small thing but when we leave a hotel room, we clean it up so only things we can’t do needs to be done. (Towels, sheets, trash, etc.). It’s important that my children know we respect others working behind the scenes and not leave any place a complete disaster.

    Like

Leave a Reply to susieqlaw Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.