Working mom face unique challenges with time, energy, and resources spent between home life, family life, and work life. In this podcast, I explore how “downshifting” and “upshifting” can be a useful and empowering framework to help you live a life aligned with your values and on your terms.

Instead of feeling overwhelmed by work and powerless to make changes, this podcast will help you create more work life balance in a unique and different way that no one is talking about right now.

Without making downshifting or upshifting a moral issue, but instead making it a personal decision, you can lead a centered life that has space for both your work life and your home life. Tune in to learn how.

If you’re a mom, you’re in the right place. This is a space designed to help you overcome challenges and live your best life. I’d love for you to join me inside Mom On Purpose Membership, my coaching community for moms where we take this work to the next level.

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Full Episode Transcript:

Hi there. Welcome to the Design Your Dream Life podcast. My name is Natalie Bacon and I’m an Advanced Certified Mindfulness Life Coach, as well as a wife and mom, if you’re here to do the inner work and grow, I can help. Let’s get started.

Hello my friend. Welcome to the podcast. I’m so happy to be here with you today to talk about downshifting and up shifting for working moms. This is something that is so near and dear to my heart, particularly as someone who had a really robust career where I was all in, in terms of hours and energy spent in my career. And then since becoming a mom, have changed that a little bit. And I wanna talk with you about my experience and how I think about these things. Using the language of downshifting and up shifting has been incredibly useful and helpful for me.

Before I dive into all of that, goodness, I want to invite you to join me tomorrow for an Ask Natalie Anything. I would love to see you there. It is happening on May 11th. You can get your seat to join me on a Zoom coaching and teaching call while I will answer any question that you have over, I love getting to know you and hearing from you and answering your questions and helping you apply these tools and get coached. I know that for me, there hasn’t been anything that’s been more impactful in my life than the application of these tools. So that’s what it’s all about. It will be about an hour-ish long and you will get a replay if you can’t attend live. So make sure that you are on that list so that you can get all of this goodness. Okay, now let’s dive back into downshifting and up shifting for working moms.

I think that we tend to focus so much on career in western culture, particularly like when I think about the United States and, uh, progress and being ambitious. And I just think about how I was raised and how so many of us were raised to focus on, go to school, go to more school, get a good education, get a good career, all of those things. I think that’s actually wonderful advice. Quite obviously it’s useful for, you know, moving forward in, in a career path and learning how to provide value to the economy and, you know, getting a job more or less. The part that I think is lacking and missing is the, the yin to the yang is the balance of that and how taking a career pause or downshifting is what I call it, isn’t a bad thing. There isn’t morality to it. And in fact, I think particularly during seasons of motherhood, you may want to downshift on purpose.

And I use the words downshifting and up shifting deliberately because for all of us it’s going to look different. But what I’m really referring to is when you downshift, you’re working less so you are giving less value to the marketplace, you’re producing less in the marketplace, you’re using less time energy focus on your career. That’s what I consider a downshift. An upshift in your career is working more, giving more value, using more of your tools like skills, productivity, time, energy for your career and why you do this. And when you do this is going to be so personal and dependent on your life. But I love using this language. It’s been so helpful for me because I think that a lot of times for women, particularly as moms, we are, um, sort of pigeonholed into different labels. Like, are you a working mom? Are you a stay-at-home mom?

Um, are you working part-time? And even for myself, I just haven’t really been able to, um, resonate with using those labels in a way that’s felt really empowering for me because of the down shifts and the up shifts that I have chosen to utilize in my life. So regardless of whether you identify as a working mom or a stay-at-home mom or working part-time mom or any other of those labels, that can be helpful If they’re empowering to you, it’s more or less about how you decide and when you decide and knowing that you can decide whether and to what extent you want to downshift or upshift. So for me, I just love this language and I love this framework. It has been so incredibly helpful for me. For example, I think about when I first had my first son RJ, and I was just really wanting to downshift and I did and I was able to do that in my life and my family and work fewer hours.

I mean, I don’t know, anywhere from 15 to 25 hours a week, uh, running my business successfully, still being able to deliver to my clients, but not doing some of the other things that I had previously been doing in years past and creating that space for being a mom and, and being home with my son. And that was something that I wanted to do, not as something that pulled me away from my career. I never thought of it in that way. I thought of it as a downshift in my career insofar as I wanted my attention to be more towards my family. So whether you wanna call it a pause or a break, it’s up to you. But I really love the language of a downshift because I feel really empowered when I think about, oh, this is me intentionally downshifting around the time and energy that I spend in my career.

And I want to put more of that into my family, into being a mom, into being a wife, into being a homemaker or house manager. And I was recently thinking about having my second son and thinking about up shifting and how I love using this word as well because it feels so empowering for me to think about that I can create more and give more value and use more time if I want to do that. And I’ve noticed this pull towards up shifting lately for me. And because I think about it in terms of up shifting and downshifting, there is this sense of, of feeling like I’m the decider in it. Not that I have to do either downshift or upshift. And I fully recognize that our, there are life circumstances where you may decide to downshift or upshift, um, in a way that you wouldn’t if you didn’t have that circumstance.

So for example, maybe there’s a health diagnosis and you decide to downshift even though you’re sort of wishing that you didn’t have that health diagnosis and it wasn’t a time to downshift. And yet if you can use this language to reframe how you think about it, it can be a little bit more empowering even though it’s not sort of what you would wish for your circumstances. However, in this case, at least for me, the decision isn’t around a circumstance that was unpredictable or like a health diagnosis that just happened to me, not something that I created. This is something that in my life I’ve been able to look at and think about for right now as something that is something I wanna do. I want to upshift, I want to work more, I want to give more value, and I wanna put more productivity and time and energy into my work, into my clients, into growing my business.

And I love thinking about it as up shifting because it reminds me that there may be another season in the future where I want to downshift again and that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing thinking where I’m either going all in in my career for the rest of my career life or I’m staying out of it. I know that for many stay-at-home moms that are inside Grow You who I’ve coached, they have felt like taking that time off from a career really puts them at a disadvantage for the marketplace. And how I’ve helped them navigate this is to see that that may be an employer’s view, but we can’t control what that employer thinks, but we can control is what you think about yourself and how you think about yourself entering into the workplace. And there really isn’t an upside to thinking that you are at a disadvantage.

Instead, if you can wrap your mind around becoming a person of value, who over delivers to the marketplace who yes makes mistakes and sometimes has some failures, but is going to do her best at any job that she has, then you become that person who is an excellent employee and the right employer is going to really, um, notice that and appreciate that and you will be a match for that. So I think that using kind of the language of downshifting and up shifting can be really helpful regardless of whether you’ve been a working mom or a stayat home mom or whatever label that you are using for yourself and thinking about it as not something that is so, um, one size fits all in so far as you’re not just doing it once. It may be something that evolves and changes over time. So you may downshift when you have babies and then you may upshift when they go back to school or into school, you know, when your youngest is three, four, or five.

Or you may find yourself downshifting because of circumstances that you know, you didn’t foresee like a health diagnosis. Or you may find yourself up shifting in a situation where maybe your spouse was laid off unexpectedly or lost his job and maybe, you know, up shifting isn’t your first choice. However, when you use language like this, like, oh, this is the season where I’m going to upshift again, I think it puts you in such an empowered place because even though you may not wish your circumstances on anyone or even wish that you would’ve chosen them for yourself, you still can feel like you are empowered and have that self-confidence to navigate the challenge in front of you. So the hand that you’re dealt, maybe it’s not your dream hand yet through this framework of viewing it as an upshift, you can know that you are capable of this and you will navigate this.

And it may not be forever. Spouse may get another job and maybe you wanna downshift again. Again, it sort of gives you permission to think about your future from your future instead of thinking about it from your past. Instead of thinking about, oh, this career break or this time where I’ve spent at home has been detrimental to my career. It’s focusing on the future and focusing on your mindset around the pauses in between or the upshifts and down shifts that you are making in your career and seeing them as part of your journey in your career, in your life that you want to have on purpose. So this month in May inside Grow You I’m teaching a brand new class. When you join Grow You right now, you get it right away called Work and Career. And I am teaching how to become a better employee, how to give more productivity in value, how to create an intentional attitude for your work, for your career, for your money, and how to like the current job that you are in.

These are tools that I don’t think that, um, were necessarily taught. At least I wasn’t. And I’m using a lot of examples, a lot of my own experiences as well as all of the clients I’ve had the privilege of working with to kind of, um, use as examples of how you would apply the work and career mindset to your life so that you can feel really empowered and equipped to elevate yourself if you want to upshift. So join me inside Grow You over at to get the Work and Career class. You will get it right away and be able to, um, start applying these tools in a way that will lead to greater opportunities, help you feel more confident in your decisions, as well as, um, knowing how to evaluate your work and your career and knowing when to upshift and downshift.

These are all tools that I’ve used over the years and I never can view pauses or downshifts as negative. Um, I just don’t see an upside to that. I just decide on what I can control, which is my thoughts, my feelings, my actions, and I decide if this is a season where I want to upshift or downshift, and I know that if it’s a season where I’m downshifting, I’m not going to view that as hurting my career because there is no upside to that. And if someone else views it that way, then bummer for them, they are going to miss out on all of the amazingness that I have to offer. When I upshift and I have that confidence and I have that mindset on purpose, not in a way to be arrogant, but in a way that focuses on who I want to be as my best self in my career.

I want my clients to know I’m a fantastic coach. I’m one of the best coaches that they can get. I always over-deliver. I’m constantly getting feedback that Grow You is the best coaching platform that any of my clients have ever been in, and I want it to continue to be that way, and I know it will because I’m so committed to it. So this is true for me because that’s my mindset about it. And I’ve been in jobs that haven’t been my quote unquote dream job before, and yet I’ve still been able to utilize the tools to show up as the employee that I wanna be for me, not necessarily for them. So that at the end of the day when my head hit the pillow, I was proud of who I was being that day. Because if you can do that in a job that isn’t your dream job, particularly when you have a full life, maybe a spouse or a family or a home to take care of, I promise you, you are building that skill to take with you at any job.

You could go into any job and kill it, you really can. And then magic happens. You attract more opportunities and you will make decisions to move towards finding that job that is the best fit for you that you would call your dream job. And you can evolve and grow and change jobs and careers and that can be a beautiful thing as well. So so much of work and career is mindset driven and I think that that is a huge, um, component of what’s missing right now in in the, the space of, of motherhood and, and working moms. And just what I’ve noticed in my own life as well as I’ve navigated being an attorney and then a CFP and then an entrepreneur and a coach, and building my own business really successfully and utilizing these tools. There are no greater tools that I utilize than the power of my mindset and the coaching tools that I have.

So downshifting and up shifting has really been one for me that has truly, um, changed my life because it keeps me focused on the future. It keeps me focused on what I have control over, which is how I think about it. I can’t control over whether the marketplace or a certain employer or a certain boss or person considers this a positive thing or not, but I can control what I think and how I view it. And I want to view downshifts and upshifts as both amazing ways for me to think about my life and my career. I wanna point out that there is no morality tied to downshifting or up shifting. So you’re not a better mom if you downshift and you are not a more successful person if you upshift better mom. And success are ideas are thoughts that we get to define for ourselves. So tell yourself that you’re a good mom no matter how much you work, don’t define your worth based on time spent with your family.

Also tell yourself that you are successful no matter how much you work. Define yourself as someone who is a successful person regardless of time, energy, and even results spent working. Did you know you could just do this, you could just tell yourself, I’m a good mom. You can just tell yourself I’m really successful. There are no blood tests for success, nor are there blood tests for being a good mom. Now, I think that people, us, we me, tend to not wanna do this because we think it sounds arrogant, but I’m not talking about thinking about it from a place of I’m better than another mom or I’m more successful than another person. So that would be arrogance, that would be insecurity, that would be sort of this hierarchy of good and bad and successful and unsuccessful. That’s not what I’m talking about. What I’m talking about is doing this from a place of self-confidence.

I’m a good mom and you’re a good mom, and we’re both human moms who make mistakes, who get it wrong, who mess it up, who fail, and we’re both still good moms. The same thing is true with success. I’m a successful woman, I’m a successful person, and so are you. And so is the next person. Did you know you could just believe that when I realized this, I started to pay attention to people who talked about themselves as being successful. And it’s so fascinating to watch because at least for me, I really believe them as if they took a test and the test produced a result and it said, you are successful. And what I realize is that’s not true at all. It’s actually just their decision to think of themselves in their own identity as successful. The same has been true for women who I’ve watched really feel good about themselves in motherhood.

And this doesn’t mean that they’re not making mistakes. Of course all moms are, we all are. I’m right there with you. And yet they have so much pride in their work, in their families, in their kids. And this isn’t dependent on how their kids are performing, of course, it’s just who they are in their identity. And again, there’s no blood test, there’s no, um, academic test that they took that produced a result of yes, you are a good mom. It’s just that they have created that self-identity for themselves. And so I think that if you can do the work of creating the identity that you want to have on purpose for yourself, I’m a good mom and I’m really successful. If you have those as part of your identities and you give yourself permission to upshift and downshift however you want without up shifting and downshifting impacting your view of yourself without it impacting your identity, I think that’s when you sort of win the lottery for yourself because you’re not tying your goodness, you’re not tying your worth, you’re not seeing any morality in the downshifting and up shifting.

Instead, those are just decisions that you are making based on the values that you want to have and how you want to live your life. Regardless of whether you downshift or upshift, you are still a good mom. You are still an amazing human, you are still really successful. Did you know you could just believe that? So make sure that you separate out morality and you don’t tie it to downshifting and up shifting. And I think there is just enormous benefit to viewing downshifting and up shifting as tools in your tool belt, particularly with how you think about the future decisions you wanna make with respect to your family, with respect to working more or working less. And I know that for myself, it has really empowered me to make decisions with respect to work and my career much more easily and with much more fluidity when I use these terms and I, when I think about my future.

And instead of when I focus on what I can’t control, which is how other people think about it, and also if I think about my past, instead I stay focused on my future. I stay focused on this season and this upcoming season and who I want to be in the future. And I make the decision with respect to whether I want to downshift, whether I want to upshift, and I give myself permission to do that and then to re decide accordingly. All right, my friends, I hope that this was as helpful for you as it has been for me. For those of you who are joining me tomorrow at Ask Natalie anything, I’m so looking forward to it. I will see you there. Take care.

If you loved this podcast, I invite you to check out Grow You my mindfulness community for moms where we do the inner work together. Head on over to natalie to learn more.

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