Being a parent is one job met with constant change.
Amagansett couple Peggy and Brian Schlitt, well-known for their involvement in East Hampton’s The Clubhouse, welcomed their daughter, Addison Riley, on August 28, 2019. Together, they’re balancing raising a newborn, their relationship, and their jobs.
As new inductees into parenthood, they revel in every nanosecond with their baby girl, The Clubhouse’s unofficial mascot, and turn even stressful moments into ones of gratitude. For parents-to-be, their advice could be helpful. And, for parents losing patience, the Schlitts remind you of the simple firsts.
What’s one thing you were not prepared for prior to Addison’s arrival?
Brian: I wasn’t aware that at 31 years old my wife hadn’t ever changed a diaper.
Peggy: What Brian said is true, but I’m a quick learner. And believe me, I’m an expert now. I can even do it while she sleeps.
What were you the most excited about?
Brian: I was most excited about Peggy’s expression on her face when she finally got to hold our daughter, and the moment she was caring for our child.
Peggy: Everything — watching her grow, hearing her giggle (still the best sound in the world). Currently I’m most excited about the fact that she can sit up by herself. She’s about 90 percent there and she doesn’t topple over every time. It’s amazing how it changes overnight. One day she’s falling over, the next she’s sitting staring at me.
Were you nervous before the baby was born?
Brian: I was worried that we wouldn’t be able to have a natural birth like we wanted — that we would have to have an emergency C-section because we had some complications, and she was a week late. It was a little nerve wracking, but it all worked out in the end and she was born naturally.
Peggy: I wasn’t nervous at all about the birth. To be honest, it barely crossed my mind. I was only focused on what I was going to do after I brought her home. I was worried that I didn’t know how to take care of her and do the right things.
What was the first thought that came to your mind when holding your baby girl in the hospital?
Brian: They gave her to me first, and I remember thinking, ‘Wow, she’s beautiful,’ followed quickly by ‘Wow, I have to start a college fund,’ and ‘Wow, we made her.’
Peggy: Honestly, there were so many things going through my head when I first held her. It was ‘Ahh, I made this’ and ‘Ahh, she’s so tiny. I’m going to break her.’ But really, truly, it was just pure joy. You have no idea what it feels like until you experience holding your own child. Even now, after a rough day, just holding her makes everything better. There’s nothing like picking her up to give her a hug and her hug me back — clinging onto my neck.
What baby advice resonated most with you?
Brian: Be patient. Not everything is going to be easy, but patience goes a long way.
Peggy: There’s no one perfect way to parent. As long as she is happy and healthy, I’m doing it right. For the first two-to-three months she wouldn’t go to bed until midnight. I’m sure that’s a no-no, but she would only wake up at 3 and 7 AM, which wasn’t the worst schedule in the world for me. That being said, bedtime is now between 8 and 9PM because mom needs some quiet time, too. Happy baby means happy parents and a happy life. This is definitely most important.
How much time do you have for yourself right now?
Peggy: Time to myself? What is that? A quick trip to the supermarket or a shower are about it for the moment. I bring Addie everywhere with me, including work. I think it has and will help her a lot socially. She loves being at The Clubhouse in East Hampton. Everyone is amazing with her. It definitely takes a village to raise a child.
How do you both maintain your relationship while balancing a baby?
Peggy: I’m not going to lie, it’s not easy. With work, family, and the unexpected we do not have a lot of time together. We do sit every night to chat and maybe watch some TV. We usually go out to dinner on our night off together with the baby in-tow. She’s our life now, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. When she gets a little older and grandma and grandpa can watch her, date nights will return.
What do you hope you never stop appreciating about this time in your life?
Peggy: Time itself. She’s growing way too fast. She’s already 26 inches tall. I honestly feel like it was just yesterday I was in the hospital. You need to appreciate every moment, because you won’t get it back. I turned my head for two seconds a few weeks ago and she rolled from stomach to back. It was a one-time occurrence, but believe me I won’t miss the next time.