The Indignities of Poverty, Compounded by the Requirement to Prove It

What poverty is really like – a single mother’s compelling Story.

Longreads

Stephanie Land| Excerpt adapted from Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive | Hachette Book Group | January 2019 | 8 minutes (1,790 words)

My daughter learned to walk in a homeless shelter.

It was an afternoon in June, the day before her first birthday. I perched on the shelter’s threadbare love seat, holding up an old digital camera to capture her first steps. Mia’s tangled hair and thinly striped onesie contrasted with the determination in her brown eyes as she flexed and curled her toes for balance. From behind the camera, I took in the folds of her ankles, the rolls of her thighs, and the roundness of her belly. She babbled as she made her way toward me, barefoot across the tiled floor. Years of dirt were etched into that floor. As hard as I scrubbed, I could never get it clean.

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