Here at LiveMom, we love meeting new moms (and dads) doing interesting things around town. Our monthly Feature series give us an excuse to learn more about these hardworking Austinites. Our May feature is local blogger, Hand to Hold Online Community Coordinator, and Listen To Your Mother co-producer Leigh Ann Torres.
Leigh Ann and I became acquainted through the Austin blogging community and she likes to kid me that I scared her the first time we met in real life. She is the self-professed introvert and I am full-on extrovert, jumping in with both feet. In 2012, Leigh Ann was a cast member of the Listen To Your Mother show in Austin, and in 2013, I was a cast member. Then in 2014, we applied to take over when the previous producers stepped down, and this is our third year running the show together.
She’s smart, funny, beautiful, and an excellent writer and storyteller. We asked Leigh Ann a bunch of questions, and she graciously answered them here.
LiveMom: How long have you lived in Austin, and what brought you here?
Leigh Ann Torres: I moved to Austin my freshman year of college, (gulp!) 19 years ago. I lived on campus for 2 years before moving here full time, but I’ve pretty much lived here longer than I lived in my hometown of Dallas.
LiveMom: How many kids do you have, and what are their ages?
Leigh Ann: I have three kids ages 8, 8, and 6, and no, that’s not a typo. My oldest two are identical twins, and my youngest was a bonus baby. My husband and I like to joke that we only ever really tried to have one kid. Only we’re not really joking.
LiveMom: What is your idea of a perfect day with the family in Austin?
Leigh Ann: We’d sleep late, of course (late with 3 young kids is about 9am – do it while you can, carefree young Austinites!), then head out in perfect 75 degree weather for day at the park – any park – where my husband will play with the kids or fly his drone or something while I sit on a blanket and read a book. This is who we are. He plays, I read. There will be no mosquitoes because this is the perfect day, and also someone will periodically show up with a piping hot coffee from Jo’s without me even having to ask. We’d take a trip down to South Congress to visit my kids’ favorite shops, Monkey See Monkey Do and Big Top Candy Shop. Finally, we will all head to Frank for exotic hot dogs and a giant pretzel, then to Gourdough’s Public House to binge on a Sin-A-Bomb doughnut that will in no way have any effect on my midsection.
LiveMom: If you had 24 hours to yourself in Austin, how would you spend it?
Leigh Ann: See above, take away the family, and add in a nap.
LiveMom: What do you like best about Austin? What would you change, if you could?
Leigh Ann: It’s hard to describe what I like best. Austin just has a chill, relaxed vibe that has stolen my heart. Whenever I travel and tell people I’m from Austin, they clutch their heart and say, “Ugh! Austin! I love Austin.” I’ve always felt at home here, and I feel lucky to live here.
If I could change one thing, it would be the crowds. Austin has some great events all throughout the year, and guess what? EVERYONE goes to all of these events. I mean, I guess that’s what we get for being so awesome, but it’s maddening for the crowd-averse introvert.
LiveMom: What kind of music do you like? Any local musicians? Kids musicians?
Leigh Ann: I’m not much of a mainstream gal. I love indie, alternative, singer/songwriter-type stuff, also anything with piano in it. My radio is almost always on KUTX. I’ve listened to the Old 97s since ’97. I love the Avett Brothers with an almost inappropriate passion. I got one of my 7-year-olds hooked on BØRNS, and I couldn’t be prouder.
LiveMom: What’s one piece of unsolicited advice you’d give to a new mom?
Leigh Ann: Being a mom does mean that all of the sudden everyone has superwoman expectations of you, so don’t have those expectations for yourself. It’s okay to stay in your pajamas. Your main responsibility is to take care of that tiny human. And for Pete’s sake, take a nap when the baby does. Basically, simmer down. Because that thing that everyone tells you all the time about how fast it all goes? It’s true.
What is the best thing one mom can do for another?
Leigh Ann: Show up! A dear friend of mine developed an infection after birthing her youngest last spring and was in the hospital for quite a while. It was terrifying! Her husband was constantly by her side, so we gal pals took turns doing things like taking her kids to school and even tag teaming overnight baby care (baby wasn’t allowed at the hospital with her – she was really sick!). Asking what you can do will often be met with “Oh, nothing. We’re fine.” As a fellow mom, if you know something will help, just show up and do it. She will appreciate it, trust me.
LiveMom: What’s the best way to keep up with what you are up to next?
Leigh Ann: I try to remember to write things on my blog once in a while, like a good blogger should. But coming up this May, you can catch me running the 6th annual Listen to Your Mother show here in Austin with my lovely co-producer, Kristin.
LiveMom: What might we be surprised to learn about you? From ages 9 – my teens, I grew up in the dog show world. I know! Best in Show is amazingly spot on.
LiveMom: What is your job, what is your title, and what do you love about your job?
Leigh Ann: I am the Online Community Coordinator and Lead Blogger for Preemie Babies 101, the official blog of Hand to Hold. Hand to Hold is a nonprofit that helps families before, during, and after NICU stays and infant loss by providing powerful resources for the whole family, and most importantly, one-on-one mentoring from someone who has been there.
LiveMom: Do you have any charitable organizations you like to work with/ donate to/ volunteer for locally?
Leigh Ann: Aside from Hand to Hold, I love supporting organizations that benefit the arts, local radio, or local theater. I may have joined the KUTX sustaining donors for the limited edition tshirt. Listen to Your Mother also donates 10% of its ticket sales to a local cause each year. In the past we have supported Any Baby Can, Hope Alliance, and Hand to Hold.
LiveMom: What is your secret talent?
Leigh Ann: I can parallel park like a boss. It’s probably the most valuable piece of education I received in college.
Want to know more about Leigh Ann? Go here: