I am well aware of the childfree movement and honestly, I am still deciding my future. If you are considering children with a HV man or are curious, this is for you.

He's the 'HV' man of dreams right? Incredible starting salary and high growth potential (that is practically guaranteed), understands the importance of taking care of his family, has a great network/support system that you might not have, your family loves him, he wants kids and you want kids, what a wonderful HV man right? Ask him how he was raised and how he wants to raise his kids.

I've been to more weddings than I can count (if I had to guess, over 60) and it is getting to a point that I can tell from their wedding website or engagement party what their future will look like. In almost all of these couples, NO ONE asks how he wants to raise their kids. And if they do, they say he was 'raised well' and wants the best for his kids. That is the bare minimum. Ask him what he specifically means. Questions like: Who will watch the kids when we are working or gone? Were you spanked as a kid? Do you believe in spanking? Were there any restrictions you had as a child (curfews, television/film ratings, if your friends could come over, etc)? How were child/child or child/parent conflicts handled in your house? Did your parents encourage you and your siblings to hit each other or to talk it out as children? Were you taught how to do car maintenance, how to cook, how to garden, how to navigate a city by yourself, what the value of money is?

If any of these questions feel uncomfortable to ask, please understand that finding out AFTER you have children together is worse. And of course, the man could say all the perfect answers... so ask his parents and/or childhood friends about him in childhood. Look at the 'HV' man's actions and see how he reacts to children.

Out of all of the weddings, two I remember clearly because of the way they are now. The men classically checked off all the boxes, the women and family thought he is great, beautiful wedding and wonderful honeymoon, nice first year or two, then boom.

First couple, the man wanted to raise the kids and by that he wanted to outsource parenting to babysitters/nannies/and friends. He did not want to teach his kids how to do anything in or out of the household and said that the kids would learn from other people as they got older. He wanted his kids as a badge of honor and to claim all their accomplishments as his own (narc). His wife is not allowed (by him) to teach their kids to do any of this either because 'he said so.' He's not the breadwinner but has his whole family under his control because he's 'the man.'

Second couple, same thing. Great on paper man, short engagement, enviable wedding. Even before they had kids (they waited a while), they had DV issues. She didn't want to ruin his career, so she kept quiet. They have kids and he is teaching them the same way he was raised. He is almost never home, he never says where he is going to be, but has the wife make sure the kids go to the best schools, have the best childcare, and when he is around he neglects his children and tells them to hit each other to resolve conflicts. But he will always tell strangers that his favorite place to be is at home with his children and wife. Cue the 'awwwws.'

The women in both of these examples got the 'I want the best for my kid' response when they were dating the men. They never asked more questions and just assumed that if he wanted the best for himself, that automatically meant he would put in all his effort into wanting the best for his family. WRONG. In both cases the men wanted the children to be 'mini-me' versions of themselves with minimal effort put in on his side.

Someone saying that their husband 'picks up his kids,' 'gives them hugs,' or 'kisses them goodnight,' is listing the bare minimum. Is he a hands-on dad that shows his children how to do things like how to cook or change a tire? Does he encourage them at their sports lessons or in school? Does he take the time to make sure the children feel safe and welcome in their own home? Does he work a lot or far away but makes sure his family is doing well every free second he gets? Or is he a dad that cannot be left at home more than 4 hours with the kids because he gets frustrated? Is he a dad that misses every milestone for the kid because he has work and refuses to take off? Is he a dad that yells at the kid for acting out but does nothing to prevent it? Is he a dad that takes all the accomplishments for himself to brag to his friends?

I would like to add that in the couples I've seen, I have noticed a tiny percentage of women who pull this same bait-and-switch but it is overwhelmingly the men that do it.

I cannot stress enough to know your partner well and should you have children, know how they want to raise them. Do not carry the pick-me mindset of 'he'll change.' HE WON'T CHANGE. Years down the line, you will have children who will repeat the cycle.

As we always say here, constantly vet.

This is a child you are creating together, not a cake. You don't get constant do-overs.