Episode 84 Diego Footer of Permaculture Voices
Being a Father Brings Change
Being a Father, growing into that role, does not happen overnight. Sure, the physical part, the birth of a child, usually happens relatively fast (and often during the night), but being a father is an ever evolving undertaking.
Ideas of how to be a parent formed prior to the arrival of the baby often change rapidly when faced with the reality of having a real live little person with a mind and a personality of her own as part of the family. Sometimes, change comes about slowly. Values, expectations and life goals might change completely and are constantly in need of being reexamined as the children grow and change.
For Diego, the birth of first daughter was a bit of a shock – life changed dramatically. After the initial “honeymoon” phase with the new baby, reality hit. It is not as easy to get up and go and do whatever you want once a baby is part of the equation.
Who is Diego?
If asked that question ten years ago, Diego probably would have answered that he is a young business professional out to conquer the world of business. His priority at that time was more centered around career building and making money – lots of it. Making investments, creating a retirement, buying a house. In short, desires and goal which are considered “normal” and/or desirable for most people.
Enter children and Permaculture into Diego’s life. A complete shift of priorities happened. Today, Diego has left his corporate job behind and is building a business and a lifestyle centered around his family.
Diego is the founder of Permaculture Voices, a podcaster and an online entrepreneur.
What is Permaculture Voices?
Permaculture Voices started as a conference with the goal of bringing the great teachers in the Permaculture arena together for a conference in a place where people would want to travel to. The place was San Diego in early spring. People from cold climates surely could use the break from ice and snow and weren’t yet busy working on the land.
A conference needs promoting. And a podcast seemed like a good idea to reach people all over the world. Guess what. Diego fell in love with podcasting.
Now, several years and three major conferences later, Diego decided to let go of the large conferences and Permaculture Voices has morphed into an online business featuring podcasts and online courses as well as in-person workshops, and more.
Balancing Work and Being a Father
Diego and Marianne met at a Master Composting class when he was a brand new father. He and his wife had just purchased a house and Diego had started to be interested in growing food, composting and fruit trees. Somehow, Permaculture came to his attention and with it, his change in life philosophy and his life work.
Now, Diego has three kids – a big step from somebody who never thought he wanted any. On the day of the birth of his third daughter, Diego started a daily podcast. Part of his motivation was to leave a legacy for his children. But he also wanted to address daily issues of life in general which often are not talked about.
Diego wants to show the good, the bad and the ugly.
Starting a new show is adding even more work at the same time when a new baby is added to the family, but Diego sees this podcast almost as a form of therapy for himself.
This is his secret to getting it done: Prioritize and let go of time suckers like TV!
Adding this work turned out to be beneficial to him and helped him clarify his priorities as well as his workflow. Time with the children and with his wife is part of the scheduling – equally important as work task. This hasn’t always been the way, but evolved as Diego’s priorities shifted
Diego is driven to get things done and had to adjust to his new life as a father. At some point, he realized how quickly kids grow and he wanted his daughter to know that she came first. Not the TV. Not friends. Not the phone.
Life hack: Use your future self to hold you now self accountable.
More Snippets of Our Conversation
- Cruel irony of being a parent: On the micro scale, parenting can be hell at times, but on the macro, you want your babies back when they are grown up.
- Our own parents were great providers, but not so present in the emotional support department
- Diego is laying the foundation now with his kids that they all can and will be friends their whole lives.
- Allowing and fostering the curiosity and creativity we think kids have to start with and which often, at an early age, get subdued by parents and teachers.
- Our parents were raising us the way they felt was best for us, and we did/ are doing the same – only very different.
- Our children’s stories are not ours to write.
- We agree that it is much better for an individual to be raised with confidence in themselves.
- Diego is leaving his corporate job. The reasons: It is one thing to spend time at a job your don’t like, but another to not like a job which also takes time and energy away from raising your kids.
- Diego and his wife want to homeschool their children.
- For one parent to handle 3 children by themselves while the other is at work is a huge job!
- After the birth of the 3rd baby, Diego’s wife was struggling with postpartum issues and Diego decided that it was high time for him to be home more.
- Both were willing to give up a lot to make it possible for Diego to leave his corporate job and be home.
- Money is not that important. Diego would not have thought or said that 5 years ago. But somehow, he got the message what is truly important and is acting on it.
- There is a difference of going through the motions or being a conscious parent. Diego says he knows, because in the beginning, he went through the motions.
- An example. How often is a parent on the phone when the kids want to engage or are in the same room and the kids are being given a tablet or the is TV turned on to keep them occupied.
- Measure up against yourself. We all know if we are trying or not.
- Homeschooling. Why Diego and his wife want to do this.
- Marianne shares from her homeschooling experience.
- John Holt was instrumental in the beginning of the modern homeschooling movement in the US. His books are still (affiliate) relevant and very informative.
- The first child is hardest on the dad. The second is hardest on the first child. The third is hardest on the mom.
- As parents are always busy- how to keep the couple relationship strong?
- Practice good communication.
- Diego acknowledges and reminds his wife often how much she is doing.
- Marianne thinks that acknowledgment is huge since raising children overall is a thankless job. No payment, no social security benefits, lots of work and a low status in the eyes of society.
- Motherhood is a 24/7 job. No breaks. No sick time. No thank you at the end of the day.
- Diego gives a big shout out to mothers.
- Diego and his wife are very clear on who is better at what.
- She is better at handling the kids.
- Diego applies project management skills. He is faster at picking up the house, cooking and other tasks. It would be a waste of time for his wife to do those tasks and would keep her away from doing the parts she is faster and better at.
- Diego tries to never be on his phone around his kids.
- He saw an article advising to never drink alcohol around your kids. Even though he wasn’t a big drinker, he took that advice to heart and stopped drinking alcohol all together shortly after that.
- Diego asked Marianne what she would have done differently. The answer: Let go of expectations others (like your parents or society) put in your head. Find your own way and be okay with that.
- Diego and his wife are in the process of defining what is right for them.
- How do families with 10 or more kids take care of them all?
- Kids are probably capable of a lot more than we think.
- Marianne shares how her 7 year old would plan, shop for and cook a meal once a week.
- We talk about the lack of life skills.
- Kids are learning machines. Why not challenge them to reach high.
- The 5 year old can operate a video camera better than her father can.
- Keep providing those learning opportunities.
- Think about what kind of parent, what kind of father or mother, you want to be.
- In all you do, Try to be better than average.
Bottom line – let’s all try our best!
Diego mentioned this book as a life changer during our conversation: Ben Hewitt Books: Home Grown (affiliate)
How to Reach Diego
Diego’s Website is your best place to access podcasts, blog posts, courses and more.
Lately, he has been posting to YouTube as well.
How to Reach Us
At the end of the podcast, Patreon came up. Diego is partly able to work from home because of the support his listeners give him through that crowdfunding site. We, Jenise and Marianne, also started to ask you, our listeners to support the Sustainable Living Podcast. $ 1 a month makes a hugs difference to us, and while you are at it, maybe you can find another $ 1 for Diego as well.
Here is how. Go to the Patreon Homepage. Create an account. You will need a name (can be an avatar), an email address, a password and a credit card. This should only take a few minutes. Then look for us and pledge away. Thank you!
If family and choices people make to spend more time with their kids is of interest to you, check out these episodes.