Published in  
Self Improvement
October 20, 2021

4 life lessons from Netflix's Maid

Maid is one of the great new shows on Netflix. If you haven't watched it already, perhaps you want to read this article later as it involves some details about the story. Maid is based on the memoir titled Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive by Stephanie Land. The heroine of the story, Alex escaped from an abusive relationship together with her daughter Maddy. She didn't have a job, savings, or even a bank account. She jumped through hoops, again and again, to get the government assistance that she needed to survive. The show doesn't only give us a taste of the tragedy of abusive relationships and broken families, it also reveals how the government red tape rubs salt into the wound. I love this mini-series as it resonated with me on so many levels. Here are some of the life lessons that I have learnt from Alex's journey.

Be gritty

Alex worked as a maid to get the pay stubs that she needs for claiming the government assistance. Her hourly rate was at the minimum wage level and her job wasn't pleasant at all. Her day-to-day work includes cleaning dirty bathrooms, messy kitchens, handling demanding and unreasonable clients. She couldn't quit no matter how upset she was with her job - she did that for her daughter and most importantly for their future. That teaches us something: We might not like our daily tasks or we might be over-qualified for the job that we are doing but remember, everyone has to start somewhere. If we persist, we will get through the bad days. Also, we can always learn something even from the shittiest job. For example, having a bad boss can teach us how to deal with difficult people and how to manage up. In the story, Alex found her peace when cleaning houses. Her job also inspired her to write "Confession of a Maid".

Trust your gut

Danielle was one of the women who stayed in the DV shelter. She has been in and out 3 times because she always gave her husband a second chance. On average, it takes 7 DV shelter stays for women to realise that their abusive partner isn't going to change. It's hard for us to understand why they still hope the relationship would work after experiencing domestic violence at home. However, if you think about your own life, you might have a similar experience. Have you ever had a business partner who was always absent from important meetings and missed deadlines but you didn't do anything about it? It's important to trust your gut and know when you can give a second chance, and when you should let go. If one's mistake is caused by his or her's personality, a second chance will probably lead to a second mistake.

Work is important but family too

One of Alex's clients had a big house that looked like the cover of an interior design magazine. She worked as an attorney, earned a lot of money and paid for everything in the house but she only had dinner with her husband once a year at the 8 grand dining table. Her relationship ended up with a divorce, leaving her alone with a newborn that she got from surrogacy. Her relationship died could be her husband's fault (the show didn't say too much about the reasons) but if she and her husband only had dinner at their dining table once a year, it tells a lot about their relationship. No matter how busy or ambitious you are, don't forget about your family. You need them to balance your life, support you through adversity and bring joy and meaning to your day-to-day life.

Never let anyone take advantage of you

Alex and Regina's relationship didn't start off on the right foot. Regina complained about the quality of Alex's work and refused to pay her once. On Thanksgiving day, Alex offered to deep clean the grout in her guest bathroom without extra charge. In the end, Regina paid for her service and told her to never let anyone take advantage of her or make her feel less than for all her hard work. Have you ever let anyone take advantage of you, like asking you to draft a detailed proposal or analysis but didn't pay for your time? Don't forget that your time and expertise are worth something, don't give them away for free.

Have you watched Maid yet?

Squid Game might be your recent favourite but give Maid a try if you want to watch something different, touching and inspiring. You might not agree with all the decisions that Alex made but that's why the story is so powerfully resonant. We all make mistakes and have struggles. Life is never a smooth sail, same as a business. If you are struggling for whatever reason, remember that you are not alone.

Maid is a mini-series about domestic violence and emotional abuse. If you are a victim, don't hesitate to reach out and get help from the organisations below:

United States: National Domestic Violence Hotline

United Kingdom: National Domestic Abuse Helpline

Australia: 1800Respect

Image by Jan Kopřiva