‘Things to clean’: the new Netflix hit that shows the reality of poverty and abuse

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Things to clean is the Netflix series that has captivated thousands of platform users with the heartbreaking story of Alex Russell, a 25-year-old woman who has a 2-year-old daughter, who escapes from an abusive relationship with her lifelong boyfriend to give her a decent life for his daughter.

To survive and save herself from not living on the streets, Alex starts working as a maid. However, the work is hard and unforgiving, but he needs to do it to give his daughter Maddy a better life. The series starring Margaret Qualley and Rylea Nevaeh Whittet has many wondering if it will be inspired by a true story. And so it is.

Things to clean is based on the memories Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive by Stephanie Land. The book was published in 2019 and quickly became one of the top hits on the New York Times.

Although the names in the series have been changed, the story is pretty much the same. Like Alex, Stephanie began working as a maid to financially support herself and her daughter, named Story in the book, after she escaped a toxic and abusive relationship with her daughter’s father.

Stephanie and Story spent 9 days in a homeless shelter, struggling to find work and without the opportunity to receive help for their daughter due to her unemployment. The author describes in detail the difficulties, obstacles, unfair trials and mistreatment that she came to receive just for having chosen to leave her abusive partner and start over.

By writing ‘Maid,’ I hoped the book could change the stigmas that surround single mothers, especially those living in poverty. The stigmas that dictate that we deserve to endure and endure hardship just because of the difficult decisions we’ve made to get to that point.

I wish people could see how hard we have to work to be able to eat, how relentless our love for our children is. How much we fight to be sufficient while the government claims us, telling us that we are becoming dependent on something they call handouts, but we call it means to survive. I also hope you start to notice the millions of invisible workers cleaning for us at minimum wage.

Stephanie Land

Due to her hard work, courage, and determination, Stephanie’s life got better. In 2015, she earned a BA in Literature from the University of Montana and after nearly a decade of working as a maid, she began working independently and gave birth to a second child.

Currently, and after having published her successful memoirs, Stephanie lives with her husband, Tim Faust, with whom she is raising four children, two of her and two of Faust. In addition, he is working on a new novel titled Class, which could be published in mid-2022.

Stephanie Land

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