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What Time Has Told: 30s, Ashleigh Gleeson

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These days, we know age is no barrier to experience and youth is no barrier to wisdom.

For our latest HerCanberra Magazine: Time, we asked eight women across eight decades what life has taught them.

Ashleigh Gleeson

An avid fan of Canberra and mum of three, Ashleigh is event director of Damsel and Sprout. Her thirties have been shaped by resilience, bravery and motherhood.

What do you wish you could tell yourself five years ago?

That the line between being fearful and fearless is very thin.

Five years ago, I had one baby, one on the way and an idea with one of my best friends. I was walking pretty close to the fearful line—’how will I get through two under two, and a huge career decision?’

As soon as I crossed the line from being fearful to fearless, life changed for the better in so many ways. I would tell myself that being fearful is ok, but being brave is so much better.

What has the last decade taught you?

The last decade has been my most life-changing of all.

In the past 10 years, I’ve married my best friend, had three babies, lost two very special people, bought our first house, lost our first house (thanks Mr Fluffy!) and left a job I loved to start a business that has fulfilled and challenged me in more ways than I could have ever imagined.

This last decade has taught me to be brave, to go with my gut and to surround myself with ‘my’ people. The people that love you for more than dinner catch-ups and the odd night out.

The ones that come to your house and fold your washing when you’ve just come home from hospital with a new baby, or take your toddler to the park so you can sleep, and bring dinner home so you’re off the hook.

The ones who offer to be your staff members when your business is so new, you can’t hire yet.

The kind of friends that are your family and that truly fill your cup.

Name three people who inspire you

Zoë Foster Blake. She’s honest, effortless, personable and funny. She’s got a great business and ethics that I admire.

Turia Pitt. To go through what she went through and to be as positive and determined blows my mind, and in days when I need the inspiration to take on a simple task, her story can really put me in perspective.

My children Rylan, Finley, and Darcy are my inspirations for everything. My kids show me how to be carefree and how to thrive on exploring and experiencing new things. They teach me to turn things upside down and look from new angles. They remind me that it’s possible to make something wonderful out of nothing at all.

What has being a mother taught you?

Being a mother has taught me patience, resilience and the importance of being a good person in a world that’s sometimes very scary.

It’s taught me that the little things matter—that those little milestones are more than first steps and first teeth, it’s seeing your little person grow into who they are meant to be.

It’s taught me to view relationships differently and to put so much value in time. Time with my children means more than any toy. It’s moments, no matter how small that you spend with them that means everything.

It’s also taught me to embrace spontaneous kitchen dance parties, to write down the funny things they say straight away and to always listen to what they have to say.

And also…that Weetbix could be used as a fairly close substitute to concrete, and never feed your toddlers rice for dinner after you’ve cleaned the house.

PHOTOGRAPHY Tim Bean

This article originally appeared in Magazine: Time (AW2020), available to read free online.

Read it here.

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