Welcome to THE BALANCE PROJECT: a series of relevant and refreshingly candid interviews featuring inspiring and accomplished women talking about balance. I’ve always been curious—and maybe a little obsessed—about how women I admire manage the tragically glorified “doing it all” craze. So I asked them. As I suspected, no one really does “it all.” Everyone’s making sacrifices somewhere. And that should make us all feel a little better. I hope the conversation will be steered toward that reality rather than toward the flawed and dangerous assumption that we should try—or even want to try—to perfectly do “it all.”


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  • The Balance Project interview series recently celebrated its first birthday!
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  • Want to be a part of The Balance Project? Complete the interview.

No. 82: Kristy Woodson Harvey, Writer and Blogger

Age: 29
Where I live:
 Kinston and Beaufort, NC
Job: Writer and Blogger
a 3-year-old son

Harvey Port 02 retHave you changed jobs or adjusted anything in your career to have more balance?
I went to journalism school and have a Master’s in English but actually worked in finance after college. It was an amazing job and I loved it, but I ended up quitting to write more. It was definitely a financial hit but I don’t feel like myself when I’m not writing. It’s easy to say now, with my first novel coming out, that it was the right move. But, back then, it was so scary!

Do you think having “it all” is realistic or overrated and why?
I think it depends on your definition of “it all.” I’ve traded “having it all” with “being happy,” I think. I have an amazing husband, a beautiful son, and my career dream is coming true. I am elated and couldn’t ask for anything more. Someone else might not consider that “having it all,” but I think I do! Either way, I’m happy and so content with my life. And that’s really the goal, right?

What part of “balance” can you just not seem to figure out?
I’m technically a stay-at-home mom, so, during periods like this, when I’m using my couple of free hours a day to work on publicity, I can’t quite figure out how to get in my daily writing time. I haven’t worked on my work in progress in like three months!

What part of “balance” are you getting better at?
I’m getting better at taking a few quiet moments. My husband and I recently invested in a sauna for health purposes, and it’s amazing because I make myself get in there for twenty minutes and meditate. It’s a totally quiet and mind-clearing experience. And, even if I didn’t get in my exercise that day, I feel like I did something good for myself!

What was the best advice you ever heard on balance?
From a mentor/co-worker? “You can have everything, but you can’t always have everything at the same time.”
From your mother? Learn to say, “No!”
From your spouse? I asked him how long I should keep writing, keep trying to write books knowing that I may never get published. He said, “You quit when writing quits making you happy.”
From your kids? My son looked at me one day and said, “Mom, you’ve got to learn to let go a little.” It was one of the funniest moments of my life. He meant because I was holding onto him while he was climbing up the slide, but, well, clearly it meant more than that to me!

If you had one extra hour in each day and you couldn’t work or be with your family, how would you spend that hour?
Meditation. Yoga. Devotion. Upon a rare occasion I do get that hour! I tell myself I’ll take it when my son’s in school all day, but we’ll see!

What do you wish you’d known when you were 20?
You don’t have to do what everyone expects of you or follow the “rules.”

What do you hope to know by the time you’re 60?
You don’t have to do what everyone expects of you or follow the “rules.” Haha! It’s one I have to relearn over and over!

What one part of your home life do you wish you could outsource?
LAUNDRY. Our dry cleaners always tell me they’ll pick up and take it to wash, dry, and fold but I’m a major germophobe, and I just can’t do it!

Whose job do you wish you had?
Maybe Nicholas Sparks’. He’s mastered the art of writing a book, having it fly off the shelves, and then immediately made into a blockbuster movie. That wouldn’t be so bad! But, for now, I’m so happy to have my first little book on a bookstore shelf I can’t even tell you!

Whose job are you glad you don’t have?
My husband’s! He’s a dentist and he loves it, but even a glimpse of some of his pictures grosses me out! Again… germophobe.

Favorite books?
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith is my all-time favorite!

What are you reading right now?
What I Remember Most by Cathy Lamb.

Biggest vices…
Reality TV. I know you’re judging me. I can’t help it. I’ve been watching The Bachelor since I was like twelve years old!
Food? Chocolate. It’s so bad!
Website? Design blogs! I’m an interior design blogger so I have a lot of blogger friends who I have to check out every day! Pretty makes me feel inspired!

How many hours do you generally sleep at night during the week?
6-8. But I really, really need at least 8! It’s a major goal of mine every day.

What do you read every morning?
Jesus Calling. It’s a super short devotional and starts my day off on the right foot.

Complete the following sentences:
I think I: can get more done in three hours than I really can!
I wish I: could be more organized.
My son: is the best thing I will ever do with my life.

Do you have a personal motto or favorite saying?
Everything you’ve ever wanted is right outside your comfort zone!

PastedGraphic-2PastedGraphic-2Anything else you’d like to add?
I think balance is amazing, and, when I’m in that zone of feeling totally balanced, it’s fantastic. But I can get a little crazed about making all of my “balance” items a part of my to-do list, which, of course, is the total opposite of what I’m trying to achieve. So, times like now when life is busier than usual, I cut myself a little slack. I’ll never get this time with my son again, so, for now, I want to make him my main focus. There’s time for the other stuff. And, if there isn’t, I don’t think I’ll ever look back and wish I’d spent less time with him when he was little!

9780425279984_large_Dear_CarolinaAbout Kristy:
Kristy Woodson Harvey is the author of the recently released novel Dear Carolina. She blogs at Design Chic about how creating a beautiful home can be the catalyst for creating a beautiful life. She is a Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s school of journalism and holds a Master’s in English from East Carolina University. She is a regular contributor for The Salisbury Post, Domino magazine and Houzz. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and three-year-old son. Her next novel, The Art of Little White Lies, will be released spring 2016.

Find out more about Kristy here:
Twitter: @kristywharvey
Facebook: kristywoodsonharvey
Instagram: kristywharvey
Pinterest: mydesignchic



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