I didn’t begin blogging regularly until this past November and to say I was unsure of the lay of the land would have been putting it mildly. It didn’t take long, however, for me to find a plethora men who, like me, were blogging primarily about their family. One of them was Ron Mattocks.
As it turned out, Ron and I have a couple of things in common. We’ve both written a parenting memoir. We were both award-winning sales executives in corporate America who went on to drastically different jobs. We’re also both step dads. Ron has two step daughters who live with him in Houston as well as three biological kids (sons) who live with their mother in Chicago.
When not tending to his fatherly and duties, Mattocks is probably writing, whether it’s for Houston Family Magazine, or for his wildly popular blog Klark Kent’s Lunchbox. And let’s not forget his book. I’ve had the pleasure of reading Sugar Milk, and it’s fantastic. I’ll be proudly reviewing it in a couple of weeks. But first, just in case you haven’t heard of him, I thought I’d introduce Ron to you via the following interview.
So sit back, relax and enjoy and learn a bit more about my friend, Ron Mattocks.
1) You don’t have primary custody of your biological children. In fact, they don’t even live in your state. Is it hard having more contact with your step children than your biological children? What types of problems, if any, does this pose, and how do you deal with them?
Yes, there are problems, all on my end. The biggest is this feeling of guilt that sometimes comes over me when I think about all the effort I’m putting into the girl’s emotional wellbeing and it hits me that I’m unable to do the same thing at the same level of effort for my boys. For example, I’ll take my one daughter to therapy weekly and in the back of my mind, I’m wishing I could be this involved with my two oldest sons and the issues they are having in school.
2) There’s a part of Sugar Milk where you discuss the town you used to call home, Chicago, versus the town you currently live in, Houston. Are you a bit conflicted when it comes to the two?
There’s no conflict. The people in Houston might hate me, but given the choice, I’ll take Chicago almost any day. H-town is great and my closest friends in the world live here, but my kids live near Chicago which trumps all. Plus I miss the seasons.
3) You had a post in late January, Why I “Hate” Mommy Bloggers, that blew up. As I read the (umpteen jillion) comments it received, it seemed some readers took away different meanings from it. Care to clear the air?
Ha! Yeah, there were really only two points I was trying to make: 1, mommy bloggers deserve a lot of credit for what they’ve created and 2, dad bloggers should look to their example and focus on good content first and money secondary. Most readers got it. That was a fun post. (PS. I don’t hate Dooce either. Love or hate her she deserves respect for her contributions.)
4) Do you think there’s a difference between blogging and writing? And if so, do you consider yourself a blogger or a writer?
People blog for all kinds of reasons—to sell products, to inform, to build community, to have fun—the list goes on. A large group of bloggers blog with the idea of being writers, and technically all bloggers actually are writers; so I guess it really centers on the motivations like those I already pointed out. Yeah, there are bloggers and there are bloggers who are writers because their motivation is to use their blog as a means of building a platform (followership) for their larger body of written work. Although, a portion of my posts are just that—posts, my motivation has always been to build a platform by offering well-written and entertaining content. Hopefully that’s the case.
5) Tell us about your upbringing. What was your family life like while you were growing up?
I grew up in a very traditional blue-collar family. My dad owned a chain of farm animal feed stores before becoming a master electrician. Mom was a homemaker until me and my three younger sisters left home; then she worked at a couple different jobs to keep busy. I worked in my dad’s feed mills from the age of 12 which was labor intensive work for a scrawny kid like myself. My parents sacrificed many wants and needs to send me and my sisters to a parochial school. I lettered in soccer and basketball and was named to all-state teams for both from my freshmen year on up. We are very religious so on top of school our family was involved in church on a regular basis. Basically, it was an all-American upbringing steeped in small-town values which have since sustained me in the big bad world.
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So there you have it, part I of my interview with Ron Mattocks. Come back by next Tuesday for part II when Ron will tell us why he’s smitten with Cold Play (kidding?), as well as offer up some fantastic advice for newer bloggers.