Since its release on October 1st, this production has captured enough curiosity to climb the ranks on Netflix’s trending list. It has gradually started to dethrone the popular Korean series “Squid Game”. Based on the real-life experiences of author Stephanie Land, “Things to Clean” tells a raw and honest story.
Produced by Margot Robbie (“Birds of Prey; I, Tonya”) and John Wells (“E.R., Shameless”), “Things to Clean” caught their attention. Land’s decision to bring her story to the streaming screens came after her book, “Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive,” became a best-seller and reached #1 on The New York Times’ list. It has become one of the most widely read stories of overcoming adversity in recent times.
A Tale of Struggle and Resilience
With similarities to movies like “The Pursuit of Happyness” and “The Help,” “Things to Clean” brings something that appeals to viewers: a single mother’s determination to find a balance between her personal life and motherhood. However, her life becomes an uphill battle when she decides to embark on her own path to provide a better future for her daughter, far from people who bring her down, including her ex-partner and parents.
The Reality Faced by Single Mothers
“Things to Clean” reflects the reality of many single mothers around the world. These women, due to various circumstances, must make sacrifices that not everyone would be willing to take on.
The Theme Explored in the Netflix Series
Alex (Margaret Qualley) is a young woman who becomes a single mother after escaping an abusive relationship with her partner, Sean (Nick Robinson). She has no support network, and her undiagnosed bipolar mother (Andie MacDowell) adds to her challenges. In order to care for her daughter, Alex puts her dream of becoming a writer on hold and starts working as a maid in affluent households.
The Real Story Behind “Things to Clean”
Based on real events, the series follows the difficulties faced by Stephanie Land after she becomes pregnant as a result of a four-month failed relationship. Additionally, she was subjected to abuse from her father, who became increasingly violent over time.
Stephanie decided to become independent and make a living on her own terms. However, she never expected to become a maid earning only $9 per hour, the lowest salary compared to other domestic servants at the time. She had no vacation rights, and she wasn’t paid if she fell ill. The economic recession in the United States in 2008 had an even stronger impact on her life.
To make matters worse, Stephanie and her daughter constantly had to move to find safer living conditions. Due to the precariousness of labor rights, they fell ill from the mold in their new home.
Stephanie turned to government programs for subsidies but found it wasn’t as simple as it seemed. Despite having seven options for eligibility, she never had access to them. She had to make do by living in shelters for low-income single mothers. Thus, Stephanie continued her journey as a maid.
However, there was always a spark within her that pushed her to make these sacrifices, going beyond just raising her daughter: she wanted to become a writer. Initially, this dream was frustrated by her inability to attend university.
Where Is Stephanie Land Today?
Land received a scholarship to study creative writing at the University of Montana, and she earned her degree in 2014. She embarked on a career as an independent writer, garnering headlines in renowned outlets such as Vox. After her graduation, she obtained another writing scholarship with the Center for Community Change. Today, she is married to Tim Faust, and their family, based in Missoula, Montana, includes four children and two dogs. Stephanie has found a much more peaceful life and leaves behind a reflective example of resilience with her story.
To read more about Stephanie Land’s inspiring journey, visit Ratingperson.