Lotts to do New mum Lottie Ryan says breakfast radio shifts didn't prepare her for sleep deprivation
"I love being a mum but going back to work made me feel like me"
LOTTIE Ryan is on top of the world thanks to a happy confluence of caffeine and circadian rhythmicity.
The new mum says she’s learned a lot since welcoming her son, Wolf, into the world eight months ago, chiefly to “drink more coffee”, yet it’s the afterglow of eight hours’ shut-eye that has her full of beans on a chilly spring morning.
“I got a full night’s sleep last night, so life doesn’t really get much better at the moment,” she laughs down the phone.
“I would say that is the first time in eight months. I’m not going to get my hopes up — I’m sure it was a one-off, but I’ll take it.”
The 2FM presenter and husband Fabio Aprile had their worlds turned upside down in the best way possible with the arrival of their first child last June.
Finally out the other side of the baby fog, the 36-year-old laughs now at how she thought she was sleep deprived before while making her name in red-eye radio.
“Sleep deprivation is a form of torture,” she recalls the early days of new motherhood. “I worked on breakfast radio for years, so I was going into things thinking, ‘I know all about sleep deprivation, I’ve worked crazy shift hours for so long.’
“I knew nothing! It’s a whole other ball game. It was just a huge shock to the system, because it’s not just sleep deprivation, it’s somebody depending on you. You have to be fully with it and awake.
“And then, you know yourself, especially if you’re back in work — as I was — the smallest things when you’re sleep deprived can seem like such a big deal. But you learn to cope, and you learn to drink more coffee, and you just get on with things.”
After a decade’s hard graft, Lottie’s instantly-recognisable voice is now heard on the daytime airwaves throughout the week.
But the driven entertainment reporter has made no secret of her goal to follow in radio legend dad Gerry Ryan’s footsteps, recently publicly telling 2FM boss Dan Healy: “Give me a show.”
The first step was overcoming the ‘working mom guilt’ that inevitably struck when she returned to Montrose four months after giving birth to Wolf, whose middle name is Ryan in a touching tribute to her late father, who died in 2010.
“It took a while,” she admits, “because I suppose there’s this little person who I’ve been completely physically attached to, and then to kind of give them over to somebody else for part of the day, it’s an emotion I’ve never felt before, didn’t know how to deal with it.
“But once I realised he was very happy in crèche, and that I was very happy getting to do stuff for myself again, I was able to get over it and get on with things.
“Initially I was nervous going back, but once I was back in about two weeks it was just so good to be doing something that just made me feel like me again, I suppose. Just to even talk to adults during the day made such a difference,” she jokes. “It just made me a better person at the end of the day, being back in work. I needed it I think.”
Not everyone agreed though, as Lottie found herself targeted by ‘mum trolls’, who picked apart everything from her son’s unusual name to her decision to return to work after she shared what should have been some of the happiest moments of her life on social media.
Despite being in the public eye since she was a child, it’s an aspect of celebrity the podcaster says she still struggles with.
“I don't know if I can filter it just yet,” considers Lottie, who presents RTÉ’s new Dancing With The Stars podcast, two years after winning the show with dance partner Pasquale La Rocca.
“I definitely wasn’t able to in the beginning and that’s why I let it get to me.
“You just have to learn to develop a thick skin about these things because I don’t want to not feel comfortable posting a picture. And I don’t want to not feel comfortable talking about my life.
“I talk for a living so I have to be able to talk about things going on in my life. If that means talking about mom guilt or putting my son in crèche or me figuring out getting back in the workplace, I have to be able to openly talk about those things, and I can’t feel afraid of other mothers judging me.
“I think it’s an awful thing to do anyway, for a mother to presume they know another mother’s situation. I would just never do it myself which is probably why I couldn’t understand it,” she shares.
“The thing that made me feel good was the women who sent me messages saying, ‘Oh, you’re setting a good example for your son, it’s good for him to see a strong working woman, whose career is important and wants to provide for her family.’”
Fans also praised the host as “a natural” when she stood in for Jennifer Zamparelli on DWTS at the last minute in January, after the presenter tested positive for Covid.
And while she says “radio will always be where my heart is”, Lottie can foresee a future on the small screen too.
“I definitely have the bug for live television after getting to host Dancing With The Stars recently, so I would love to do some more live TV,” she says. “It’s a very addictive, adrenaline rush — it’s quite like what I would get when I’m on radio — so I think I’d like to explore that avenue a bit more.”
It’s five years since the star wed chipper owner Fabio in Italy, but love was still in the air for the Ryan family as her younger sister, Bonnie, tied the knot with long-term boyfriend, John, earlier this month.
Now Lottie is looking forward to keeping the celebrations going by toasting her first Mother’s Day with her mum, Morah, and 94-year-old nan, xxx, next Sunday.
She teamed up with One4all to help honour maternal figures all over Ireland, encouraging people to show the love this March 27 with a One4all Gift Card, loadable from €15–€150, and usable in over 11,000 retailers nationwide and online.
“The first thing I said to [my mum] after I had Wolf was, ‘Are you crazy, you did this five times?’” she jokes. “My second thought was all the sacrifice she must have made for us, especially because my mum was a stay at home mum.
“It’s completely changed my perspective on everything,” Lottie concludes of joining the club herself. “What’s funny is I feel much more relaxed — which I wasn’t expecting. The little things really don’t upset me the way they used to because I feel like they just don’t matter.
“He’s my whole world and it just changed how I viewed other things. I just feel much happier and much more settled.”
For more information see one4all.ie
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