Subscribe to receive exclusive news, workouts, giveaways and more!

The Art of Stepping Aside

When I was young, I loved to dig through the keepsakes my mom would save in the dresser next to her bed. In there I would find birthday cards, journals and a copy of her high school yearbook. But my favorite keepsake was an envelope with the clippings from my first haircut, the envelope labeled “Randi’s First Haircut April 1980.” The hair was so blond and so soft and reminded me that my mom wanted to keep those moments locked in her special drawer of memories forever.

The time for my son, Micah’s, haircut arrived as we hit the heat of summer. Though his curly afro (pictured above) was certainly loved by the pedestrians on the street and my Instagram followers, the reality of that hair was slightly more cumbersome. It hung in his eyes and was a major ordeal to wash and comb. The time had come, my husband and I agreed.

Hubby found an adorable kids’ salon on Christopher Street called Doodle Doo’s. He said it was perfect for Micah: toys, TVs, treats—all the necessary diversions a child might need during his first cut. We made an appointment for a Sunday at 11 a.m. Weeks before, hubby had suggested that this be a special moment for father and son—the first step toward future moments when they might hit the barber together. I responded immediately in shock. I refused to miss my son’s first haircut! I would be there and I would gather those curly locks, just as my mother had, and I would watch him transform from baby to boy (as so many warned me happens when a baby’s first hair cut occurs). My husband shrugged. “O.K.,” he said, “let’s roll with it.”

But then a conversation with my own mom happened. She reminded me that Micah goes into baby mode with me and tends to play big boy with my husband. Why not give him a chance to be the big boy for his first hair cut? I hated to admit that her point made sense. At some point I was going to have to learn to step away and for him to have his own moments without me (especially with preschool just around the corner). My heart tugged a bit. It’s so hard to let go, even just a little, but I knew that this was excellent practice for many larger moments to come.

On the morning of the cut, I told the guys that I would go to yoga while they went off on their adventure (the haircut). My husband smiled. This is the way it should be, I told him. He reads me, that husband of mine, and I knew he supported me in this small but profound step of loosening my mommy grip.

When my yoga class was over and I turned my phone back on I was met with the most precious and heart-wrenching photograph of a little boy who had just had his first haircut. He looked handsome, a little sad, very proud and way too grown up for this mommy to handle. I cried a little bit in the stairwell of my yoga studio. I needed to give myself that moment. But from there, I promptly ran to Washington Square Park to go meet the big boy and celebrate his big moment. He was so happy to see me and to tell me all about it and I loved hearing my husband retell the tale of how they got him to agree to the cut, tear free. And since it’s New York City and these boutiques have their act together, I was handed an achievement certificate for Micah’s first haircut accompanied by a baggie full of the baby hair that was cut off. All was not lost.

In the end, I’m so glad I gave in and let the guys have their moment together—and allowed Micah to have a profound life moment without me. We both have to get better at doing it and while motherhood is a constant process of nurturing, it’s also a continuous process of letting go and sometimes stepping away is the key. When can you step away during moments that feel crucial but really aren’t? Does your stepping away allow for others to step in or for your child to step up? Where can you go beyond your own selfish desires and keep a bigger moment in mind for your whole family?

Randi Zinn is the founder of Beyond Mom and Born from her own experience of motherhood, and the desire for a more connected community, Beyond Mom offers mixers, events and retreats for forward-thinking New York moms. She encourages moms to cultivate a life “Beyond Mom”—one that embraces the gifts of motherhood but expresses all that they are as individuals: creators, businesswomen, thinkers, friends and so much more. Randi has partnered with Comptoir Des Cottoniers, SoulCycle, Mio Skincare, TOWN Real Estate, The Mother Company, Body Conceptions and IntenSati. Her writing has appeared in FitBump, Epoch Times and Well Rounded NY. She is a certified yoga instructor through Laughing Lotus NY and has taught since 2008.

Add your comments