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The new world of motherhood: Story and Shelter Island Reporter podcast

Corinne Wilutis and her husband, Jon, already had busy and fulfilling lives when they welcomed their baby boy, Roman, into their family 16 months ago.

In the months after his birth, Corinne said recently, they made adjustments and coped with surprises, although she admitted that quite a bit of that time is “just a blur.”

“It was every bit as wild and terrifying and exhausting as everybody warns you,” Corinne said. “But you get through, and thinking back, I enjoyed it, and there are some things I even miss.”

Corinne works as a nurse in Southampton Hospital, and Jon has a pool service business, Shelter Island Pools. They have a strong and close circle of friends and enjoyed traveling.

After Roman was born, Corinne’s first day back at work at Southampton Hospital. (Courtesy photo)

Before her current job, she would go on mission trips with a nonprofit organization, and volunteered for the Shelter Island Gift of Life Foundation. “We did our own thing, as a couple or individuals,” she said. “If I wanted to go get my nails done, or go to hot yoga, I just did.”

Now, it takes a bit more planning and scheduling to pursue these activities, but “I wouldn’t change it for the world,” she said. “It’s just different.”

Dealing with a toddler, now that Roman is walking, presents new challenges, his parents are learning. They erected a safety gate to confine him, but this week he was able to pull it down, so they need to find a more secure way to attach it. He prefers their family dogs’ bowls and garbage cans to traditional toys.

“I bought him his own little garbage can at T.J. Maxx,” she said, that he can play with to his heart’s content. “He’s my little garbage man.”

Trying to keep the baby from the dog food was difficult, and the other day she realized that one of the dogs had spit out a glucosamine supplement, which Roman quickly gobbled it up before she could stop him.

A call to poison control brought reassurance that it would not be harmful, but it was a reminder that he’s even more challenging to keep up with now that he’s mobile.

“He’s a workout,” she laughed. “You have to roll with whatever they throw at you.”

The Wilutises are happy to be raising their little boy on the Island, in the kind of life they knew growing up. “Shelter Island is such a special place,” she said. It’s much simpler than the city, for example, where she’d have to navigate stairs or busy streets to take the baby for a walk.

“We can go out before or after breakfast,” she said, “and I just put him in his stroller and we’re ready to roll.”

Corinne appreciates the Tot Lot, the playground for toddlers that was installed near the school in recent years, and the programs at the library that Roman can enjoy while playing with others in his age group. She expects that, as he gets older, she and Jon will meet other parents at activities like baseball, possibly re-connecting with classmates from years ago in a different way as they raise their children.

A Wilutis family vacation in Mexico. (Courtesy photo)

“Their interests will dictate where the parents go, and what we’ll be doing,” she said.

Corinne’s grateful she has someone to provide childcare on a regular basis, which she said is challenging for a lot of parents on the Island.

Asked how she will be celebrating Mother’s Day, Corinne rolls her eyes, as if it’s the last thing she’s had time to think about.

“A bottomless brunch?” she laughed. “Probably we’ll go to church, then maybe brunch, and somewhere outdoors if the weather is good.”

As she takes off after Roman once again, she shrugs and laughs, repeating her new-mother’s mantra, “I’ll just see how it goes, and we’ll roll with it.”

And now a Mother’s Day gift from the Reporter, a podcast with Corinne Wilutis speaking about the changes a baby has brought to her life.