Winston-Salem, NC – Theresa Joiner, Solarté’s Business Development Manager and Fundraising Liaison, shares her #SolarteStrong story for Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day.
Everyone has a Covid story. Everyone underwent stress, pain, and even loss. It was a difficult time for everyone. And some are still dealing with repercussions. Including me. Even though my family of 5 was very fortunate to come away from that period with our health intact and loss at a very minimum, we are dealing with issues we never thought we would have to face. And it’s a struggle every day to adjust and find solutions and ways to manage our new way of life. My name is Theresa Joiner, Business Development Manager at Solarté Collections and Coordinator of Chaos in the Joiner household. I have three amazing kids, 17, 14, and 10 years-old. I volunteer in my children’s schools, am a self-proclaimed taxi driver, and work full-time from home. I love to cook, hate to clean, and tennis is my new hobby! But at the heart of it all is my family, the most important people in my life.
Where I live, when Covid shut down the world, children were sent home from school, not knowing they wouldn't return for over a year. At first, it was like, ok, we don’t really have to “do” school from home, right? Then came the learning curve for the teachers, administrators, and kids on “doing” school from home. Logging in, turning on your camera, muting your microphone– this was all new to us, including my then 2nd, 5th, and 8th graders. They spent hours on their computers not only trying to learn their academic subjects virtually but also learning how to manage technology, which, let’s face it, we all struggle with– even as adults! It was one of the biggest transitions we have ever experienced in our lives. Now, I will admit, I was never interested in homeschooling my kids, I’m not wired that way (thank goodness for amazing teachers that are!), so it was a huge struggle for me to try to keep them interested, motivated, and somewhat successful. They struggled as well. Being isolated from classmates, having to manage their time and technology like a professional (which was totally unreasonable), and still having to perform academically– as if they were sitting at a desk in their classrooms. I bounced between all three kids for 6-7 hours a day and made lunches and snacks (yes, I would receive text messages from my older two kids to bring them food while they were on zoom!). But my youngest needed the most. And as her mom, at the time, I didn’t know what she needed. I tried the best I could. I struggled not only with her but with myself. Am I doing enough? Am I helping them? Am I hurting them? Am I enough? My confidence and self-esteem took a nosedive, along with my patience and understanding. At the time, I was even running my own business, which I had to dissolve to focus on my family. I had never been so unsure of myself in my life. I was drowning in self-doubt, which would only get worse.
But somehow, we got through it. And I will say that when they got to go back to school in person, their hearts were lighter, their grades improved, and their social lives finally got back on track with making new friends at school. My son entered high school, my oldest daughter entered middle school, and my youngest was in 4th grade. I thought, whew, we made it– finally, things can get back to normal! But it was a new normal, and one that would take time to unfold. I told some friends to think of a slingshot. During the Covid shutdown we were held back so tightly, so strictly, and once the shutdown was over, the slingshot was released, and our lives went into hyperdrive! Schools, sports, new friends, new responsibilities, new jobs, new experiences, the need and want to do everything you missed out on was upon us. And it was overwhelming. Especially for my youngest. I started to see what I didn’t see during the shutdown, that she was anxious about anything new, any change, and anyone new. But she couldn’t tell us– it would just manifest into inflexibility, hypersensitivity, and tantrums. At first, I thought she was just acting out and needed to be redirected with positive reinforcement, and when that didn’t work, there were consequences. Just like any parent would. It was always something with her, and we could never figure out the “why.” It was affecting our entire family. And it piled on even more self-doubt for me as her mother. How can I help her? I felt like a total failure as her mother. What we realized was that we needed help in understanding what was happening and finding someone to try to help her.
Fortunately for us, our school has a dedicated counselor for kids in her grade. When we reached out to her, she was more than willing to talk to our daughter and see what was going on. She was able to communicate with her in a way in which she felt safe and comfortable explaining herself. And after several discussions, we both realized that our daughter was high anxiety. Once I realized that she wasn’t trying to be inflexible and difficult on purpose and that she truly was afraid or worried about “normal” things, it was a Godsend. It at least gave us a direction, a path, to seek the right help from the right people. And it took a little of that self-doubt away from me. As her mother, I was like, ok, now I can work with this. I researched, talked with her counselor, spoke with new potential therapists, and finally found the right person for her. We now have a therapist for her, a plan at school in place, and a little more understanding of how her mind works and what her needs are. And I, finally, have let go of some of the self-doubt and guilt I have been carrying since the shutdown. I am now able to ask for help, accept that help, talk to friends about what we went through and are still going through. And you know what? Once I did, it felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I have received so much love and support from friends and family that I didn’t even know was there and that I didn’t even realize I needed. We are still going down the path to help her, but with support from her school and counselors and from friends and family, I feel more confident and more capable as a person and as her mother.
I have learned to lean on my faith, my friends, and my family to unload some of the burdens, and it has been therapeutic. The kindness and support I have received from Angela are only one example. Even though we have a business relationship, she always asks about me and my family. She always offers up encouragement and even prayers. I am grateful to know Angela and work with her and her amazing brand. Everyone can use a little Angela and Solarté in their lives!
Thank you for taking time out of your busy life to read my story. I hope to encourage others to reach out to friends and family if you’re struggling, it helps release the emotional burden and find encouragement sometimes where you least expect it.
Solarté Collections is a private luxury body care brand that pledges to inspire fearless lives filled with confidence, joy, and well-being. Solarté offers an exquisite line of French body care to boutiques hand-picked by Angela Jenkins, CEO. The collection features all-natural shea butters, hand creams, body lotions, shower creams, and soaps. In addition to a beautiful line, Solarté partners with safe houses and non-profit organizations nationwide to take a stance in the overall cycle to end domestic violence and abuse.