As a mom I get asked questions that I file into the "what are you thinking asking me that?" category. Among them are things that really show a lack of awareness, some meanness and some even in the "I am far superior in my parenting skills" category. These can range from the unknowingly hot buttons - "how do you leave your children every day to go to work ? I could never" oh yes because I leave my children with no thought whatsoever to them and plan not at all for every imagined emergency by having back up plans worthy of the Pentagon. There are the "so you chose your career?" (my friends who gave up jobs usually get the "so you what do you do all day?") again yes I did with no thought to the impact on my kids, both positively (goal setting, following a career, the financial benefits, that women can work outside the home equally to men) and negatively (no I cannot make every remind me the day before school event, yes I buy cupcakes for those that I can attend).
I have given these folks a pass because honestly these questions come from people I could care less about - my friends and those who care for me know the balance that this takes and what it takes of and from me. The question though that usually will get you a range of slight to zinger sarcasm, all depends on how insistent you are in getting to zinger, is one I get more often than I would have anticipated it goes something like this; Me "I spent the day with my son X" Other person " Oh that's the one you like better right?". Deep breath for me -- no it is not the one I like better or worse. As an only child having two children is an experience that is quite novel to me. I do not have my own family experience to measure good or bad against. I do have examples though in my childhood of friends whose parents highly favored one child, in such obvious ways that it was painful to watch, picked on one child, again painful to watch, more than the other(s) or were really well balanced. Parenting was different when I was a child, not sure there was as much reflection in it, but we all evolve right?
I make a very conscious effort to not cause that difference in my sons - one because I genuinely do like them the same, unless there is something psychologically wrong with you - loving them the same goes even with those who did show favoritism, and I enjoy them for the same and different reasons. My husband, who is a multiple, thinks I probably give it more thought than needed - but I as a singleton am on the right track. I mean I genuinely did not mind, and even enjoyed, being an only child. However, if there was a sibling I would have wanted one that I could consider there for me, who would help me when my choices were terrible and who would rely on me the same way (I found that in my 2 best friends so chosen sisters works for me) . I feel that treating my children the same way besides coming naturally to me, is not only good for them but for building that bond they have as brothers. They are best buds because in a life where they will "play" fight until there is pain for one and then it turns into "pain" fight to be stopped, in a life where many may not be genuine with them and in a life that throws them curve balls - having that brother best friend will be that much more important.
Treating them as individuals but not differently with my actions is what I strive for. They both have seen my "WHAT WERE YOU THINKING??????!!!" spinning head move aimed directly at them, followed by a deep breath and a softer "please give me a moment" so that I do not lose it anymore. They both get time on their own as well as together with me. I like them both for the different people they are, my older son is a more sensitive sort who loves to be popular and my younger son is less interested in popularity but more interested in making sure what he is wants to do is what he is doing. They are both amazingly loving and overall pretty great kids.
So to answer the question that should not really be asked - I do not like either one of them more than the other. I consider them both a part of my life and heart in a way that far surpasses anything I could have imagined I could love like. I make sure that I tell them equally how important they are and that I love them, discipline them equally for equal bad actions and overall never, ever do that "well your brother is better/worse at.." thing I could not stand seeing done to my friends or their siblings.
Balance - sometimes I walk that tightrope that is my life with the best of the circus performers but other times I am glad that I have the net of friends underneath cause I take tumbles. I am going to make mistakes as a mother but overall I am also dedicated to making sure that my boys know that I love them and like being with them.