My housekeeper doesn’t want to make the bed. Or pick things up. Is this okay?

I just hired a housekeeper to come in a few days a week to do laundry, help make meals, clean, etc. On her first day, she came in and it was chaos as usual around here. She informed me that she’d like the toys picked up and the beds made before she gets here in the morning. I’ve never had a housekeeper before. Is this normal and did I commit some sort of faux pas? Or is she trying to take advantage of me? What do I say? Should I fire her?

Imagine getting a job in a bagel shop, showing up on the first day, and announcing, “I’m really happy to work here, but FYI: I don’t spread cream cheese on things.” Or how about getting a new job as a personal trainer, and saying to your first client, “Oh GOD, I didn’t realize you were going to be fat. Get out of here. I only want to train skinny people who are in shape.”

You wouldn’t. Just as a housekeeper shouldn’t get there on her first day of work and demand that you do all kinds of stuff before she gets there. I suppose you could talk to her, give her a clear job description (one that definitely includes making beds and picking stuff up off the floor), and see if it works out. But my instinct is that she’s high-maintenance and a pain in the ass, and that you should save yourself the time and trouble, tell her it’s not going to work for you, and find someone else.

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