Why Am I Here? Blame Match.comRon Mattocks
Now that we’ve knocked out a few posts here on Dadding, you might be curious as to who I am and how I got into this whole daddy blogging racket (or not). You could probably blame Match.com. That’s how my wife, Ashley, and I met. She was on the last day of a free trial when my profile headline, “The Biggest Jerk You’ll Ever Meet,” caught her attention, and the ensuing details—I live with my parents, I like big boobs, I deliver pizzas part-time in a ’72 Pinto painted like the General Lee—only made me that much more attractive.
On the first date, we talked about our children—my three boys and her two girls. At the end of the evening, Ashley asked for a hug, and proceeded to inform me about the number of pedophiles who use online dating to prey on single mothers with young kids. Six months later we were engaged to be married. And then life got interesting.
A week after I proposed, the two of us lost our jobs—different companies, same day. The assumption was that I’d find work first. Not so much. Prior to the wedding, we moved in together. Ashley found a job. I kept looking …and looking, and looking. Meanwhile, Ashley’s daughters, who were four and five at the time, kept eyeing me and cocking their heads with all the same curiosity as two adorable little Pugs. The arrangement would become permanent.
I’ve made many transitions in life both personally and professionally, but this one, by far, was the most difficult. Prior to this, I was a corporate executive at a Fortune 500 company, making a six-figure salary and living as a bachelor while playing dad on the weekends, then chang-o, prest-o, almost overnight I’m remarried, unemployed, a stay-at-home dad with step-daughters while my sons are now over a thousand miles away. It was hard to reconcile with my new role. The longer it lasted, the angrier and more depressed I became.
Luckily, I have a sense of humor. I couldn’t afford to drink, so I turned to the next best thing: blogging. I had actually started Clark Kent’s Lunchbox eight months prior to all of this, but whooo doggie did it suck. People shouldn’t write if they have nothing to say, and I fit that criteria perfectly. Stories require conflict, and I had none. After my world exploded, though — well, let me put it this way: If conflict could be translated into dollars, I could’ve paid for five Kim Kardashian weddings and then hired her to clean my toilets.
Clark Kent’s Lunchbox then became an escape where I could translate the moments surrounding my life as a SAHD into a narrative sitcom. And as the economy continued to tank and more men were becoming the primary caregivers, I thought maybe it would help if someone shared their own story to show that their situation wasn’t isolated. That idea led me to write Sugar Milk: What One Dad Drinks When He Can’t Afford Vodka , in which I capture the humorous and personal details of all the above — from bizarre Internet dates to finally understanding what it meant to be a dad. My journey’s not over, though, as I still am trying to find a way back to my sons.
One question I often get is how I came up with the name Clark Kent’s Lunchbox. I explain this with more background on my site, but basically, after my divorce, I knew my three boys would need me more than ever. At that realization, fatherhood themes in the media started popping out at me, to include this show about Clark Kent growing up as a teenager prior to becoming Superman. Until then I hadn’t been much of a superhero fan, but watching Smallville caused me to wonder what kind of parent one would have to be to raise the most powerful being on the planet and by extension, how that would translate into my own parenting. I added the “Lunchbox” part to represent the progression of my kids from childhood to adulthood—I mean, what’s one object you can carry around with you every day from kindergarten until you retire?
Here’s a few more things about me that might be helpful to know:
- I used to date an actress who was considered to be South Korea’s equivalent to Winona Ryder (and didn’t know it)
- I once got into a full-on brawl in front of George W. Bush. (He thought it was funny.)
- I’m a huge fan of Coldplay and Richard Marx. (I have a dream that they will perform together on stage, and then my head explodes.)
- I’ve never seen E.T.
- I’m the guy they call when Ryan Gosling needs a stunt double for his abs. (This is not true.)
Finally, I am very grateful to be here at Babble, and it’s humbling to be working alongside three great dads who are such talented and well-respected blogging veterans. There are so many incredible dad bloggers out there (just run down Babble’s Top 50 List to see a few), and it’s my privilege to become friends with a large majority of them over the past four years. Blogging has opened up opportunities to me and my family I never would’ve imaged could happen. Among these is the chance to be a part of causes like Let’s Play which builds playgrounds in needy communities, Child Hunger Ends Here, as they works with schools (hint: sign yours up) to feed hungry children, and most recently, Movember as we men grow scary facial hair to raise money for finding a cure to prostate and other cancers (hint: donate a couple bucks here).
While at Babble, I hope that my writing and family and fatherhood entertains, provokes, and informs readers in a way that makes us all better people, and maybe even gets a few laughs along the way. And so, for all of this, you can blame Match.com. Thank you and enjoy.