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Kindly Housekeeper

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You know this lady. She's portly or Hollywood Pudgy, perpetually smiling and always ready to do what you need her to do—she's always there should you need someone to take out the trash, do the laundry, or just simply be a shoulder to cry on. She'll always have a nice breakfast for you ready in the morning, and will take your coat for you once you come back home. She's the Kindly Housekeeper.

Such ladies can be not just a nanny but also a Parental Substitute to the children in the household (if there are any) to substitute for the Disappeared Dad (if the housekeeper happens to be a man) or the Missing Mom—usually the latter since housekeepers are traditionally women and it's usually The Jeeves who would act as a fatherly figure to the potential children. She will also often play Team Mom to the other servants (assuming she's not the only servant employed). Can be a Supreme Chef considering that it's all part of the job, or an Apron Matron. In the latter case, she may also be a Servile Snarker to verbally whip others.

Probably not an Old Retainer, since she usually doesn't have a high regard for doing things the Proper Way. If she's younger and employed by a single father, she might also be a love interest for him.

Contrast Creepy Housekeeper. Compare Mammy.


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    Comic Books 
  • Robin (1993): Mrs. McIlvaine is the Drake's housekeeper and acts as a strict but caring and matronly figure for Tim. While she has a tendency to side with Tim's father—who is her irrational and hotheaded employer—during arguments, Jack is rarely home and Tim's mother is deceased by this point so for about a year she was Tim's most consistent parental figure.
  • Wonder Woman (1987): While the woman was actually Diana's landlady when Di first moved out of the Kapatelis' home she rented a room with an eccentric but kind old lady who did her best to make the living situation ideal for her renters.

    Comic Strips 
  • The title character in the comic strip Hazel, as well as the Shirley Booth sitcom adapted from it, is a tough-talking but sweet housekeeper.

    Fan Works 
  • Evetta from The Night Unfurls manages to be one that overlaps with the contrary archetype. She is the caretaker of the Hunter's Dream who tends to the Workshop, the gravestones, and her Good Hunter. Her serene and kindhearted nature as a maternal figure, however, is overshadowed by the fact that she is, well, a living doll. Unlike most examples who are portly Perpetual Smilers, she's really, really tall.

    Film — Animation 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Cries and Whispers: The maid Anna is much more willing to comfort Agnes in her terminal illness, both physically and emotionally. It stands in contrast to Agnes' distant and troubled sisters (who are all wealthy aristocrats).
  • Doctor in Distress (1963): Sir Lancelot has the caring Mrs. Clapper to do the cooking and cleaning.
  • Annie in It's a Wonderful Life. Sure, she snarks, especially with the younger Baileys, but it's clearly based on affection (which is equally clearly reciprocated).
  • In Liane, Jungle Goddess, Theo Amelongen's housekeeper Alma is a kindly woman who welcomes Liane into the household, ensures her comfort, and generally acts as a mother figure for her.
  • Mrs. Higgins, from The Miracle Woman, is the epitome of this trope: kind and willing to help John Carson in any endeavour.
  • The Parent Trap: Chessy is the Parkers' housekeeper. While she is quite snarky, she genuinely loves the Parkers and almost treats the twins like they're her own children, to the point of being driven to tears of joy when she realizes Annie, who she hasn't seen since she was a baby and is supposed to be in England with her mother, is actually standing right in front of her.
  • Roma: Cleo is generally pleasant and genuinely loves the children she works for. Despite not knowing how to swim, she even goes into the ocean to rescue two of them.

  • Jack from Alex Rider. Although she's younger than most of the examples, she still serves as a Parental Substitute for Alex.
  • All the Light We Cannot See: The kind and cheery Madame Manec is cook, maid, and companion to Uncle Etienne and a maternal figure to Marie-Laure.
  • Animal Inn: Mrs. Racer, the visiting housekeeper who's been helping out the Taylors since Mrs. Taylor died, and Mrs. Wilson, the live-in housekeeper for the Sparks family.
  • "Brownie" (Mrs. Brown, first name unknown) from Mary Grant Bruce's series of books (the Billabong Books) about the fictional Australian cattle station (ranch, in Americanese) named Billabong. After David Linton's wife died, Mrs. Brown, their cook/housekeeper took on the role of surrogate mother to his two very young children with the approval of her employer. She is depicted as kindly but firm, able to induce obedience through sheer love.
  • Mrs. McGregor from The Boxcar Children: She works for Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny's paternal grandfather, James Henry Alden, as a housekeeper/cook, but they see her more as a member of the family than a servant.
  • Mrs. Mullins from Jig-Saw plays with this. She devoted forty years of service to Taylsea Court and "has a heart of gold, but only one person in a hundred discovers it under the gruff exterior." This is especially true for the protagonist, Mona, whom "Mullie" briefly considered a feminine rival.
  • In tthe Melendy Quartet, Elizabeth Enright gives us Evangeline Cuthbert-Stanley, a/k/a Cuffy, cook/housekeeper to Prof. Martin Melendy and substitute mother to his four chilren by his late wife, and later also to his adopted son Mark.
  • Nancy Drew: Hannah Gruen, the live-in housekeeper/cook to the Drew family. She's been working for the family for years, and took it upon herself to act as a maternal figure to Nancy after her mother died (age-10 in the original series but age-3 in the revised series). Nancy and her father, Carson, see Hannah more of as a member of the family than a servant.
  • Mrs. Hudson in Sherlock Holmes. She was actually Holmes' landlady, and didn't really clean up after him too often, but she did prepare his meals and admit clients in to see him. She even assisted directly in one of his cases, for which he complimented her as being "indispensable."
  • Calpurnia from To Kill a Mockingbird. She stays home while Atticus is at work, providing protection, discipline, and love. She essentially also fills the maternal role for Jem and Scout after their mother's death.
  • In the Village Tales series, the Duke of Taunton's housekeepers (especially at his primary seat, Wolfdown House), are these to a woman; and not a patch on his retired staff member, Rose James, who is now the housekeeper at the Rectory (the Rector is embarrassed to have one; the Duke insists; Rose James simply leaps at the chance to mother the Rector).

    Live-Action TV 
  • Cinderella and the Four Knights: In contrast to the late teens/early twenties cast, their housekeeper Ms. Beolgyo is middle-aged. She warms quickly to the houseguest Ha-won and helps her achieve her missions.
  • Downton Abbey: Downton's housekeeper, Mrs. Hughes. Even though she can be stern in her duties, she is more easygoing than her male counterpart (Mr. Carson) is. She is shown to be open to the changing times and has shown great kindness to her fellow servants.
  • Carla, the Drapers' black "girl" on Mad Men, who is widely criticized for being confined to this trope and Satellite Character status in a show that has plenty of time to examine the problems of comparatively much more privileged (read: white) people in The '60s. The only time she broke out of the role at all was during the scene when she was being fired. It's worse with Betty's childhood nanny/maid Viola, who is downright Mammy-like.
  • As noted in the Literature section, Mrs. Hudson. The Granada television adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes canon puts her even more squarely into this trope than the novels themselves, as it illustrates the mother-son type of attachment she shares with her eccentric boarder. This is most clearly seen in the episode in which Holmes returns after being believed dead for three years - he hugs her.
    • The BBC adaptation puts her in the same position, with John and Sherlock both very protective of their landlady (not their housekeeper). For the offence of laying hands on Mrs. Hudson, Sherlock throws a CIA agent out of a window, and at the end of series 2 Moriarty correctly identifies her as one of the three true friends in his life.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine has Mila, Tain's gentle and kind housekeeper of thirty years, and may or may not have been his mistress.
  • Mrs. Bridges is the Kindly Queen of Kitchen in Upstairs Downstairs. She does have something of a temper but is a caring motherly figure to the servant folks.

    Web Comics 
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: Mikkel pulls double duty as this, being the oldest of the team, being both the Team Chef and the Team Mom, and keeping himself busy with making sure the tank and its contents stay clean when not needed for his prime duty.

    Western Animation 
  • Doctor Snuggles had Miss Nettles, an elderly Apron Matron who maintained the titular doctor's abode while he built his inventions.
  • Scrooge's motherly housekeeper Mrs. Beakly from DuckTales (1987), who puts up with him despite his miserly attitude and looks out for the boys.
  • Rosie from The Jetsons combines this with Robot Maid—she's very close to George, Jane, Judy and Elroy, who all consider her to be a member of the family and love her far too much to trade her in for a newer model (as Rosie's technically outdated).