The Mams

The last couple of weeks have been incredibly busy.  Preparing for an invite only performance of Life of Reilly at Northern Stage, preparation for the ball on 1st June at Hilton, pre production film meetings as well as the other 2 million things I do to keep us ticking over with Reilly is keeping me on my toes so to speak.

Tonight was final rehearsal before the show.  I went along with intentions of watching but ended up sat with ‘The Mams’.  We drink tea, they help me with any questions I have and offer their help, they also lend me an ear.  We have built up a little comradery.  They are supporting their daughters but also us in the quest to educate more people.

We got on talking tonight about sleep.  I started to recount the days when Reilly was little and by surprise it made me very emotional.  I can look back now and see how far we have come.  Reilly was around 4 years old when my health visitor drove past me in the street with Reilly and turned around to come back.  I looked horrific.  I was barely functioning on around 3 hours sleep.  I told her I felt like I would die or have a nervous breakdown if I didn’t get some help.  Prior to this  Reilly didn’t just not sleep,  he screamed most of the night.  Inconsolable real tears and we didn’t know why.  He couldn’t tell us.  Was he in pain?, had he a nightmare?, was he frightened?, We had no idea.  Nights turned into months and even into years and we coped best we could.  Shane trying to sleep as he was up so early for work but spending much of the night as back up for me and taking his turn at swaying Reilly looking at the stars, something we would do for hours on end.  Ellis my middle son near moved in with my parents just to get some sleep.

At the time I felt like a massive failure.  One child I didn’t understand and the other didn’t want to be in the same house.  I was lucky that I didn’t have to go to a 9-5 job,  if I did I’d have surely been sacked.  I tried catch up when I could but chances were few and far between.  There is only so much your body will take before its says enough is enough.  I was at this point.  

A day after my chance run in with my health visitor  I picked up a prescription for melatonin – melatonin is naturally produced by the body to regulate the sleep-wake cycle. Its levels begin to rise shortly after nightfall, promoting sleep.  I was terrified to give him it,  Was I drugging him? Was I copping out? What would people think of me?  All the normal what if’s.  I can put my hand on my heart and tell you that without that run in I was indeed headed for a breakdown.

We’ve moved forward in so many ways.  Not thought about that grey area of my life for a long time.

We struggle but we’ve got this. Talking helps.  I’m lucky I have Alison & Kelly who have been there and bought the slightly different t-shirt but always on hand for advice.

To The Mams as I lovingly refer to them thankyou ladies for the support for The Life of Reilly and for me.  Appreciated more than you know. x



I’m one week in.  It feels like 8.

Out of 7 nights Reilly has woke up 5 of them at 4am.

I hate 4am – it’s not night anymore and it’s too early to be morning.  He doesn’t wake up grumpy,  he wakes up like it’s the greatest day on earth and he’s ready for it.  He spends approximately 30 mins alternating between trying to manoeuvre the tip of my nose inside his belly button, lying across me like a plank and sitting on my head.  I don’t mind this part as I can keep my eyes closed and stay in a lying down position.

4.30am ish he likes to play tents but only with me putting the torch on my phone.  He thinks its hilarious, me not so much.

5am ish The roller blind goes up and I shrivel up like Edward Cullen when the light streams through the window.  Reilly takes this opportunity to practise his jumps from the window ledge onto the bed.  Still ok because I’m still lying down, after I double-check the window locks of course because mark my words he’d be out the window and onto the ledge in second.

I try to lure him back into bed by putting videos of people’s holiday vlogs on youtube and lie for half an hour responding to his points where I MUST respond with the right word so no winging it with my eyes shut.  If he points at pool and I say balcony i’m for it.

Around about this time we get up.  I hobble across the floor because my plantar fascitis is killing me and he jumps on my back at the top of the stairs so I can piggy back him down and we count every stair on the way and he runs his fingers along the crappy old artex at the top of the stairs.

He bursts into the living room like its 1999. Big lights on and they are that bright its like being interrogated by the FBI.  He opens the door into the conservatory and an icy fog creeps into the living room.

I attempt to make a cup of tea which he routinely takes off me and pours down the sink and I retreat like a bear with a sore head onto the settee and wrap myself in the throw which he will always come and remove while I try my best to keep my eyes open and pray he gets tired again soon all the while he bounces up and down to the equally energetic ratbag Pocoyo on the telly.

Have I got another 5 weeks of this for some type of normality to return? I’m too tired.  If I was one of those people who could get into bed and go to sleep after Reilly does it wouldn’t be so bad but that’s not me.  I listen to meditation apps, rain sounds on a tent on youtube, and parts of an audiobook before even thinking about dropping off to sleep.

And that’s just the start of the day.  We have many hours of fun to fill in between before the debacle starts again.

So if you see me in the next few weeks and I look like a walking dead extra you know why.  All down to my little super cute  stealer of sleep Reilly.