Now Is the Season to Be Home with My Family

by Tanya Hovey
I am the wife to Chet Hovey and the mother to Atalie, Austin, and Annalise. I am also the owner of a photography studio. I started my business 12 years ago from scratch. I never had a teacher or I never interned with any photographers. Everything I learned was from studying books and going to seminars. I worked hard to make my business successful. I soon found a niche specializing in newborn portraits.

After several years I began to get busy. I raised my prices and hired employees. After a few bad experiences with employees, I decided to go back to running the entire studio myself. This was about three years ago.

This is not my story. My story is... about one year ago I started experiences anxiety attacks. Running the entire studio myself was catching up with me. I was always so overwhelmed and stressed out. My body was trying to communicate to me that I needed to slow down. 

I tried to go to the doctor to pop a pill for the anxiety. Sadly, it didn't work. I tried multiple different anxiety medications. None of them helped. All the anxiety medication gave me worse side effects then benefits. My doctor called my side effects a grimace facial tic or twitch. It was not the prettiest thing. I wouldn’t even know I was doing it. My jaw would start to ache, and that’s how I knew I was having the tick. And of course my husband would always say, “You’re doing that thing with your mouth again.”

I also tried some medication that was to relax me while I was having an anxiety attack. I remember having to cancel a few photo shoots because I felt like I had hit the whisky bottle. I remember doing a proof viewing appt and I had to apologize because I couldn’t think clearly. It was so embarrassing. I definitely did not feel comfortable driving on this medication. As a mom, I couldn’t take this medication and still do all that I needed to do. I couldn’t rely on taking this medication to help me. This was not the answer.

I tried the natural healing method. I went to a muscle-tester chiropractor, and he tried acupuncture on me. I remember having a small attack while he was poking the needles into me. Within seconds, when he was done, I do remember feeling relaxed.

But later that day, the anxiety came right back. He taught me to put pressure on the stress point on my wrist. I remember throughout the days walking around and driving down the road holding my wrist 24 hours, 7 days a week. I was continually trying to get my heart to stop pounding so hard and hoping the tightness in my chest would go away.
I’m sure I received promptings about what I should do, but I wasn’t listening. I wonder now if I had to have the anxiety to give me the message loud and clear. 
I started to become unhappy and frustrated. I wanted to blame my husband for not helping around the house more. He had gone hunting for a week during this time. I was so mad at him. I also didn’t think it was fair he could leave on a vacation. Every little chore around the house stressed me out. I just couldn't find enough time in the day to do it all. It came down to my body was telling me I was doing too much.

During this time I was reading Daughters in My Kingdom. After reading one night, it dawned on me what to do. This is what I read:

“Sister Amy Brown Lyman, the eighth Relief Society general president, emphasized the need for mothers to be with their children. She served as president during World War II, a time when government and civic leaders encouraged women to work outside the home to support their national economies while their husbands were at war. Some sisters needed to work outside the home to provide the necessities of life for their families. Although Sister Lyman acknowledged these challenges, she nevertheless encouraged women to do all they could to be at home and teach their children.”

Something needed to give in my life. I couldn’t sell one of the kids. I’ve grown quite fond of them. I decided my husband was an asset more than a burden. The only thing left was my business. I needed to cut the photography way down. This was a very hard decision for me. I had worked so hard to grow my business and build my clientele. And I really enjoyed it. It was the best job in the world. Who wouldn’t want to spend the day taking pictures of newborn babies?

I knew Heavenly Father was trying to give me a message. I’m sure I received promptings about what I should do, but I wasn’t listening. I wonder now if I had to have the anxiety to give me the message loud and clear.

When I started punching the numbers, financially we relied on my income to run some of the household expenses. I wasn't sure what to do. I secretly wanted my husband to pay us more money each month. He runs his own business so I figured it was something he could do. 

When I asked him to give me more money each month, he told me he couldn’t. I remember him saying something like: “The more money you make, the more money you spend.” Sadly, I know he was right. I needed to figure out where I could cut my expenses. I cut out all the unnecessary expenses and financial luxuries we (or I) were using each month. When I compared income to expenses after I cut out all I could, it was pretty close. My expenses were still a tiny bit more than my income.  I needed to change my spending habits. Things came down to, “Is this a need or a want?”

I knew this was the right decision I was making. I felt it in my heart. I needed to rely on the Lord to help me do this.

I decided to turn it over to the Lord. I knew in my heart I needed to spend more time with my family. This is where Heavenly Father wanted me. I took that leap of faith and prayed that the Lord would help me and my family financially make ends meet. I also prayed that He could help me reduce my anxiety. All the man-made solutions did not help me; I needed HIS help.

I officially took my leap January 1st last year. I remember in March looking back and being amazed. At the end of each month, I still had money in my account. I had an extra $360 monthly expense come up for the first three months of the year. I should have been in the hole, but I wasn’t. It didn’t make sense. I should have been in the negative. But I wasn’t. I knew I had listened to the prompting He wanted me to do. I was being blessed. He was helping me. He was answering those prayers.

Very quickly the anxiety started to go away that year. It seemed like every single Relief Society lesson and visiting teaching message had something to do with confirming I had made the right decision.

Do you remember the conference talk by Dieter Uchtdorf titled “Of Things That Matter Most”?
Let me share a little bit of it with you:

"It is good advice to slow down a little, steady the course, and focus on the essentials when experiencing adverse conditions.
"I think most of us intuitively understand how important the fundamentals are. It is just that we sometimes get distracted by so many things that seem more enticing." 

This past year has been nice. I am so much happier. I have to say, when my husband went on his weeklong hunting excursions this year, I had a different attitude. I looked at it like, "He works hard; he deserves this break to relive his stress. He enjoys hunting so much."

I still have a lot on my plate, that’s my personality. I keep busy. But I know my limits. I’m learning to listen to my body and know when I’m taking too much on.

It’s been nice to stop and smell the flowers this past year.

It's been a year now. I still do a photo shoot here and there. But I know my limits. There is a time and a season for everything. My season right now is to be home with my three kids.

I’d like to share this awesome quote from Dallin H. Oaks from his talk "Good, Better, Best":

“Most of us have more things expected of us than we can possibly do. As breadwinners, as parents, as Church workers and members, we face many choices on what we will do with our time and other resources.

"We should begin by recognizing the reality that just because something is good is not a sufficient reason for doing it. The number of good things we can do far exceeds the time available to accomplish them. Some things are better than good, and these are the things that should command priority attention in our lives.”

I’d like to close with another quote from Pres. Dieter Uchtdorf’s talk: “My dear brothers and sisters, we would do well to slow down a little, proceed at the optimum speed for our circumstances, focus on the significant, lift up our eyes, and truly see the things that matter most.”