Neurodiverse Minimalism with Limited Spoons

One day I noticed my daughter frantically cleaning our living room. She enjoys cleaning and does it often, but I could tell that this particular cleaning session was troubling her. 
I asked her what was wrong.
“Our house is small and our stuff always everywhere.”
She’s 3. 
Viking Man and I are both Neurodivergent. The world around us always seems chaotic and messy. Despite my, quite literal, clean freak nature at times, it was becoming impossible to stay on top of all the little messes our family of 5 can create in our 600ish square foot home. 
Considering we live in such a small home, and we spent a few years of our early family days in the Navy, we’ve always been slightly minimalistic. Despite only owning easily packable things, we still owned a lot of things that didn’t hold much meaning to us or were multiples of the same thing (I.E. a gazillion Legos). 
Over the past month I’ve been working through each section of our tiny house, slowly tossing, donating, and organizing our things. This is a slow endeavor for someone like me. I have to go through and thoroughly clean everything, even though it’s all been recently cleaned. I also have to take breaks because of my spinal disorder limiting my mobility at times. Not to mention, I have three little ones underfoot trying to help me. I also have to do all of this while my husband is away at work, but also provide him with details about what I will be changing, because too much abrupt change can be problematic for him. Not in the abusive spouse kind of way, but the “I’m stimming because this is freaking me out” kind of way. 
During this entire experiment towards minimalism, I’ve learned some very valuable lessons. 
The first lesson being that it’s okay to have a large amount of things if they bring you happiness. I have a lot of kids and a lot of books. Both bring me joy and happiness, so I’ll be pairing down on neither. In fact, I intend on increasing those numbers… eventually. 
The second lesson I’ve learned is that social media/internet should also be a part of every minimalist’s purging process. I’ve decided to ditch Facebook, because it was bringing very little joy to my life and causing me to waste time versus the return in value it was giving me. Instead, I use Twitter to relay my thoughts and Instagram to share pics. I only use either about once or twice a day and am on them for maybe 15 minutes total. If someone wants to talk to me, or I them, we have to actually pick up the phone and text them, email them, or write a letter. Either method seems to hold more meaning and attachment than scrolling through Facebook and liking posts ever did. 
Lastly, I’ve learned that relationships are also something every minimalist should look into in their pairing down attempts. Some of my family members are very toxic, but I’ve held on to them because, you know, family. Ironically, when I gave up Facebook, I stopped hearing from them. It’s too much effort for them to pick up the phone and call, or to write an email, so I’m no longer worth their time. Easiest purge yet. 
All of this is still a work-in-progress. I haven’t found the happy medium for organizing our homeschool area, or how to help my husband not panic anytime I utter the word ‘purge’, but things are beginning to look clearer. 
I feel happier. 
The kids seem happier about having fewer toys to pick up. 
And Viking Man seems moderately okay with all of this, so long as I remember to cook dinner and give him space for healthy stimming.
I’ve adjusted to using less internet by reading and writing more. I’ve also been baking, a lot. So those are all major pluses. Not to mention, it’s been ages since I’ve stepped on a Lego. Okay, maybe just a week of no Lego pain. But still, that’s progress.  

Update and Rambles 

[Image Description: Danielle is babywearing Bitty A in a Tula using a back carry. She and Bitty A are both smiling broadly at the camera. Danielle has her hair covered in a simple two-toned veil.]
I took a bit of a blogging break, but I had a really good reason. I needed a break! This little blog seemed to be going all over the place, I was all over the place, my life was changing, and I really didn’t know what direction I wanted to take Primordial Willow anymore. I had lost my focus. 
When I initially began blogging, I wanted to create a space for fellow Pagan parents, urban homesteaders, and homeschooling Pagans. I wanted to provide information and resources that I had gathered along the way as I homeschooled and raised my own Witchlings. But, my life flipped. Viking Man and I had a miscarriage. He and I separated for a while. I began working full time. We had another baby, Bitty A, while separated. I was a mess. My life was a mess. And this blog was the last thing on my mind. 
It sucked. I was definitely battling a lot of depression. I also got sick, really sick. My chronic illnesses that I’ve had for years reared their ugly heads in full force while my family and I were dealing with so much uncertainty. I didn’t know what to do, in my own life, or on Primordial Willow.
All I could do was focus on expanding my doula business and raising my kids. All I could do was pull myself out of bed everyday and hope for the best. And honestly, I felt kind of embarrassed to blog about anything. After all, blogs are places where people who have their shit together write about their awesome parenting skills and baking masterpieces, right? The chaos that my life was entwined in did not seem blog worthy. 
So, I took a break. 
I needed a break.
During the break, Viking Man and I decided to work on our relationship. We’re much happier now. We’re still assholes at time, but we’ve learned how to not stink so bad. We’ve both come to terms with the fact that neither of us had good examples of loving and healthy marriages growing up, so this will be one of the hardest things we’ll have to work at. We’re doing our best and learning and loving as we go. 
We’ve also been focusing on growing our relationships with The God and Goddess and how we want our craft to work within our family. I’ve made the choice to start veiling full time now. It’s the right thing for me to do at this point in my life. It’s a reminder of my focus on my craft and my dedication to Persephone. We’re also constantly trying to find new and exciting ways to incorporate Paganism into our children’s daily lives without being indoctrinating assholes. It’s a learning curve, because we were raised with the latter (from a Christian perspective), so our immediate reaction was to not raise our children around our beliefs at all. However, Viking Man and I have realized that that’s not the right answer either. So, we’re trying to find the perfect balance. Maybe there isn’t a perfect balance, but our ultimate goal is to not screw our kids up, which is always a good goal to have.
This year, Big A starts Kindergarten. His transition to this new stage of life has been incredibly motivating for me to find that perfect balance of awesome Pagan homeschooling without perpetuating that Paganism is the way, the truth, the light, etc. I think we’ve found our Pagan homeschooling groove, so I’m hoping to post more about it soon once I’ve worked out a few kinks. 
Oh my Gods, I have a five year old! 
Anyway, the kids are all doing well. They’ve been thriving, actually, since Viking Man and I made our marriage a priority. Funny how that works, right? Bitty A is 17 months old now and Little a is 4 years old. All three of my babies are beautiful, vibrant, and thriving. And they’re getting too damn big. Clearly it’s time for another Newcomb… or maybe I’ll just focus on my doula client babies. We’ll see.
This post is getting rather rambley, and I’m notorious for rambling, so I’ll cut myself off. Primordial Willow’s focus will be on Pagan Parenting, Pagan Homesteading, and Pagan Homeschooling. Those are the three things that I love to write about, they were the three original focuses of this blog, and they will return to being the three main focuses of this blog. Of course, I’m sure I’ll continue producing the occasional rambley post, such as this, like I always do. What I’m trying to say is I’m back, the blog is back, I enjoyed my break, and thank you for sticking around. 

Blessed Be. 

Guest Post: How Wrapping My Hair Saved My Mommy Self-Esteem

 

 

wrapped-breastfeeding

By, December Fields-Bryant

 

As I brought my son home to began healing from my cesarean, relished any short hot shower and wearing clothes that would eventually accommodate my deflated boy, I wondered if I would ever return to the woman I had been. Would I ever see the woman in the mirror who cared if my clothes were anything other than comfortable? Would I ever plan an outfit around anything other than whether or not I could nurse in it? Where was the woman who wore makeup without worrying if it might smear on my son’s head, and did something with my hair other than combing it with my fingers and throwing it into a ponytail. I hoped that she was still there, behind the tired eyes and spit-up breast milk on my shirt. I didn’t really worry about her until my son was 6 months old and my hormones and sleep schedule settled into something resembling normalcy. It was then that I began to look at my clothes, my hair, and the mess that was me as a mother. I felt depressed and completely cut off from the person I had been and, at the same time, I had guilt over being so shallow.

I was a mother after all. Everyone was looking at the baby anyways, not me. Shouldn’t my only goals in life now be based on the care of my son? Who cares if I live in nursing tanks and maxi skirts so long as my baby is fed and happy? Well, I cared and I was worried my husband cared too even though he told me I looked beautiful no matter what. “No matter what?” That was a blow to the ego.

I did what I could to feel better about myself. Losing weight and feeling how loose my pre-pregnancy clothes were on me helped but I still felt like a hot mess going anywhere. I couldn’t wear make up and no matter how nicely I dressed (complete with baby carrier and diaper bag accessories) I felt incomplete and bare. I tried wearing different shoes but anything other than a sturdy flat caused my back to hurt after carrying the baby around. I tried wearing hair accessories but my son assumed that, since they were in reach, they were for him to yank out and play with. I donned hats but they obviously looked like they were attacking me and made the baby scream bloody murder until they completely disappeared and I proved to be safe and whole.

Finally, I tried hair wrapping. Hair wrapping, head covering, or pagan veiling was something I’d been looking into for a while and drawn ever since being called into the service of the Goddess Frigga. I started looking at tichels (traditional Jewish style of wrapping hair in a scarf) and decided to give it a shot. Not only did my son approve by giggling and smiling at me (a great improvement from the earlier screaming over the hat) but I felt and looked awesome. I was simply amazed at what a scarf could do for my ego.

I found wrapping to be a great benefit to me as a busy mom. Didn’t have time to shower…again? Wrap my oily head up until later. Can’t find my hairbrush among all the baby stuff? Wrap my tangled mess up and pray it doesn’t become a rat’s nest. Cold out and no time to dry my hair after my rare shower? Wrap my head and stave off the sniffles. The best benefits I’ve found are that wrapping protects my hair from being pulled by playful baby hands and keeps my hair out of my face when trying to nurse and type and drink cold coffee all at the same time. Score!

Wrapping also completed my outfit. I feel very put together and confident when I go out with a wrap that matches the same colors in my clothes or brings together the colors I’m wearing that wouldn’t match otherwise. This confidence bubbles over in how people interact with me. I have had less people bustle me about in stores or at events, more people open the door for me, and less men in particular saying anything rude around me. Wrapping brings attention to my face, for better or worse. More people look me in the eye and respond to my polite smile with their own. It’s a strange rush to be treated with friendly respect even if it is only over a change in how I accessorize my hair.

My self-esteem has been bolstered not only by wearing a hair cover but also by joining a community of many women of all walks of life who also cover their hair. Groups, boards, forums, and more exist for women to share their looks, gorgeous selfies, tips on wrapping, and sales on scarves and wrapping supplies. A surprise among this community is the solidarity and support given. I’ve seen women of all faiths brought together to pray for a fellow wrapping woman as she escapes an abusive husband and women respond with vehemence against businesses who discriminate against women who wrap.

Being a part of this has reminded me that I am more than a mother. I am a sister to other women who wrap. I am a face behind the baby carrier and stroller and car seat and diaper bag. I am a woman who deserves self care even if it’s only in the minute it takes to wrap a scarf around my head before I face the day.

 

 

wrapped-breastfeeding

December Fields-Bryant is a Northern Tradition Pagan and earthly handmaiden to Frigga. Her magical life is blessed with inspiration from her little imp of a baby boy and her Viking blacksmith husband. You can read more of her work at www.Terrestrials.earth or on Twitter @TerrestrialsAK.

A Yule Gift

Friends,

I come to you tonight, on this blessed Yule, to ask for your help.

This isn’t help for me, personally, but for a dear friend of mine. Her name is Michelle. 

Due to health issues, she is in dire need of services that she and her family are unable to furnish. I know many of you are fellow spoonies and fellow persons with disabilities. You understand the hardship that ensues when health services are needed, but not financially feasible.

If you’re able to, please consider donating to my dear friend. Yule is a time for many of us Pagans to come together and cherish our sacred community. Well, this Yule, one of our own needs help. Please, consider blessing her and her family in any way you can.

You can find out how to help by following this link

Merry Meet and Blessed Yule.

~Danielle

Tardigrade Homeschool Resources

Tardigrade Homeschool Resources

 

Have you heard of a tardigrade before? If not, it’s time to read up. These little guys are pretty awesome. If you have kiddos, especially preschoolers who love all things creepy and crawly like my preschooler, then tardigrades are definitely something you should include in your science curriculum.

Tardigrades, or water bears as they’re sometimes called, are micro-animals that can survive a multitude of conditions, including surviving temperatures higher than 300 degrees Fahrenheit and temperatures close to absolute zero. They are found almost anywhere and everywhere, even from the depths of the sea to the top of the Himalayas.They’re one of the toughest critters around, having even survived the vacuum of space.

Some of the earliest tardigrade fossils we have found have been dated to over 500 million years old. That makes these tough little dudes older than dinosaurs (My 4 year old thought this was the coolest thing ever.).

Since tardigrades are so stinkin’ cool, I decided to find all the resources I could on them that would be applicable for a homeschool lesson. I will eventually try to formulate all of this into lesson plans, but since my family follows more of an unschooling approach, this list works well for us, for now.

If you have any resources that could be added to this list, please drop a message on this post and I’ll add it in!

 

Tardigrade Resources – Younger Grades

Tardigrade Resources – Older Grades

Tardigrade Pinterest Boards

(These boards all have neat pictures that my kids loved looking at.)

 

Resources for Pagan Veiling

 

Resources for Pagan Veiling

 

For some Pagans, especially those who follow Wicca, veiling or wearing a head covering is something they feel like incorporating into their craft. Some of these Pagans do it because they feel that their Matron and/or Patron have called them to do it. For some, it is a way to set themselves apart. Others follow a specific type of Witchcraft, such as Jewitchery (Semitic Neopaganism), in which wearing a head covering is more common place. A few do it as a way to protect their crown chakra. And for others, wearing a head covering is simply something they enjoy doing.

Several deities are often portrayed being veiled, but three of the more common ones are Hestia, Hera, and Persephone. The majority of the veiling Pagans that I have encountered usually have one of these Goddesses as their matron, or they are actively working with them.

If you have been a blog reader of mine all the way back when I was blogging under the name ‘The Crunchy Pagan Mom’, you’ll know that I have been a veiling Pagan for several years. Wearing a veil isn’t something that I do all the time, but it is something that I do most days. My reasons for veiling are numerous, but mainly because my matron is Persephone and I feel led to veiling through her guidance. I also feel more confident when I veil, as odd as that may sound.

Regardless of your reasons for choosing to be a Pagan who veils, there are resources out there for those of you who are looking for help and guidance. Below are a few of the Pagan veiling resources I have come across over the years. If you have written a blog post on the topic, done a YouTube video about it, or if you have a Pinterest board dedicated to Pagan veiling, please drop a link in the comment section and I’ll add it to the list!

YouTube

My Personal Experience with Pagan Veiling (Made by me over 2 years ago!)

Why Would Pagan’s Veil? Lilith’s Embers  

Lilith’s Embers (The majority of her videos focus on Pagan veiling)

Wiccan/Pagan Veiling Tutorial Lunar Paiges AWESOME VIDEO!!!

 

Pinterest Boards

Wiccan Veiling (My board)

Pagan Headcovering (A Shared Board)

Pagan Veiling December Fields-Bryant (A lovely blog reader. Check out her Pinterest page for more goodies!)

Pagan Veiling Grace Kellerman-McLean

Pagan Veiling Charise Clarke

Veiling/Headcovering (A Shared Board)

Pagan Head Covering Kathleen Mezgar

Covered Head Pagan Women’s Movement! Michele Smith-Martin

Pagan Monastic Garb Inspiration Danica Swanson

A Veil to Mark the Veil: Pagan Headcovering Antoinette Johnson

 

Articles

Pagan Veiling and Head Covering The Solitary Eclectic Pagan

Covered: The Pagan Veiling Controversy Beth Wodandis

Veiled Pagans Ria Bridges

Veiling: A Different Take on Pagan Womanhood Star Foster I LOVE THIS ARTICLE!

 

Facebook

Occulta Femina (Pagan Covered Women Support Group)

Sisters of the Veil

Paper Airplanes, Raising Boys, & Solo Parenting

 

Paper Airplanes, Raising Boys, and Solo Parenting

 

Today I learned how to make paper airplanes.

Big A has been begging me to make them for several weeks now after he discovered there was such a thing.

When he first asked me to make one, I froze. I had no clue how to make one. I never thought I would ever have to make one. I’d always assumed that these sort of things would be taught by “Dad”. But Dad isn’t here to teach his kids how to make paper airplanes. There’s only me.

I had this same reaction when it came time to help Big A transition to potty training. When I began having children, I always assumed that “Dad” would be the one to teach the boys how to use the potty, and I would teach any girls that we had. But when it came time to help Big A learn how to use the potty, there was only me, Mommy.

Little boys are fun people. But as a solo mom, I’ve struggled with a lot of insecurities. Am I good enough for my boys? Will I be able to show them strong and powerful feminine energy, while also ensuring that they’re surrounded by strong and wonderful masculine energy? This all applies to my daughter, of course, but I think that the way society enforces gender roles has really been making me second guess my ability to raise boys well. The only thing that has really helped in this area is that I have been fortunate to become acquainted with quite a few powerful feminine forces who are raising their boys with the kind of love and guidance I hope my boys see in me.

It wasn’t that difficult to make a paper airplane. A quick visit to YouTube land and a whole three minutes later, and I had the process down. I was pumping out paper airplanes on a factory scale, or so Big A’s incessant begging made it feel. After about an hour of making paper airplanes, Big A decided he had enough to reach peak satisfaction.

After I finally escaped the paper plane factory, I rubbed my achy hands, poured myself a cup of coffee, and smiled as I watched Big A and Little a zoom around the house with their parchment aircrafts. My momentary happiness turned into a twisted sort of feeling of both pride and sadness, an emotion that I’ve recently discovered since becoming a solo parent.

I’m still in that early stage of solo parenting where I can’t feel a sense of pride in what I’ve accomplished without feeling the pangs of regret and loneliness. It’s no where near as strong and painful as it was when I initially began this journey, but it still creeps up.

Does the regret of leaving behind someone who was a part of your family, because it wasn’t working, ever go away? I don’t know. Does the feeling of loneliness when your children do something fabulous and you turn to tell your partner, only to realize they’re not there, ever go away? Probably not. What I do know is that, every morning, I look at myself in the bathroom mirror and whisper, “I’m enough”, and I try to make the day as wonderful as I can for myself and the kids.