1. Never learn her name. Learning her name could result in awkwardness, transforming the relationship from professional to personal all within the time it takes her to do a couple loads of laundry. Any of the following suggestions are appropriate and should be used: You. Hey. Hey you. Clorox. Oh, little one. Ahem. Miss (be sure to elongate the S sound. She’ll enjoy that). Mop water. What’s her name? Oh, cleaning lady. There you are. 
  1. For those absolutely insisting on using a proper name, these are the only two acceptable ones: Maria or Olga. 
  1. Stay home while your new busy bee is working. Crowd around areas that she cleans but pretend that you don’t see her. It’s not that you don’t trust her but you need to find some way to be bothersome and get in her way. She’ll appreciate the stress this induces. 
  1. In keeping with the above rule, be sure to always walk where she is mopping. She will appreciate every footprint you leave behind. It shows that you care enough to provide her more work. Take care to pass by a few times wearing shoes and then once more barefoot. 
  1. Never offer food or water. It’s rude to assume that she needs anything from you. 
  1. Any chance you get be sure to comment on her height. Housekeepers love to be reminded of how tiny they are. It’s good for them because often they forget how small they are and start to believe that they’re just as tall as you. When you do this be sure to pat them on the head as well.
  1. Throw something away, wait three days then call her and ask her if she took it. 
  1. Make sure to never line your bathroom wastebasket with a plastic bag. It’s not fashionable but most importantly your housekeeper prefers to have to peel your used floss, Q-tips, tissues and sanitary napkins from the bottom of the bin. It’s the best part of the job. Besides, a little menstrual blood never hurt anybody. What’s most important is that your wastebaskets remain chic and bag free. 
  1. Allow your boyfriend who occasionally sleeps over to refer to himself as the boss of the house, let him dictate which areas need the most cleaning.  
  1. Holidays: Whatever you do, do not give a monetary Christmas bonus – we all know that you expect this from your job but your housekeeper would never dream of it. In fact, she’d probably embarrass you by thanking you over and over again. So, it’s best to give her something she can use once a year like a single bathroom hand towel that features an unsightly Santa Claus head floating in the middle. 
  1. Holidays continued: don’t give her the day off, and definitely not a paid day off. 
  1. Since you have a housekeeper now, do her the favor to never clean up after yourself in any form. Your kid spills juice on the dining table – not a problem – leave it, what’s her name can clean it on Tuesday of next week, today is Wednesday.
  1. When her polite children come to work with her because they’re sick, give them comic books and lava lamps. Months later when they return and you overhear them giggling, stating that your husband walks like a woman, corner them when their mother is cleaning the bathroom and ask for them to return the gifts.

Los Angeles native, Alessandra Castellanos, has been a gardener, barista, housekeeper, nanny, pool cleaner, and medical courier. She writes poetry, fiction, and memoir and loves reading paranormal romance novels. She is a neophyte art collector, poetry daemon, movie buff, Valkyrie, and keeper of cats, dogs, turtles, ceramics, and other small things. Alessandra’s works have appeared in Barrelhouse, The Offing, Northridge Review, Exposition Review, Drunken Boat, Lunch Ticket, RipRap Journal, Chaparral, Duende, The Round and elsewhere. She was a 2017 featured reader at Lit Crawl L.A., with her poem, “In Darkness with the Ramirez Sisters,” and a 2018 featured artist for the Viva La Muxer arts and music festival with her poem “Madre.” Check her out at

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