My name is Stephanie. And I am a rubbish friend.
There. I've said it out loud. A thought which has been on my mind a lot at the moment.
Today I replied to a friend's text message. She'd originally texted me two days ago. I often forget to reply at all.
On Saturday, a babysitting mix up meant that I missed a friend's 30th birthday party. I couldn't make her party last year either.
I never call my friends 'just to chat' anymore. The rare times I do they'd be lucky to hear anything other than my children shouting or me telling Ollie not to climb on the sofa.
I forget birthdays all the time. Or I remember but forget to post the card.
My kids always seem to get sick when I'm most looking forward to going for a night out. Or I'd love to go but just can't afford it.
And I'm sorry. Truly I am. I could make excuses about how I'm exhausted after running around after two children, how I don't get time to pee alone, let alone make a phone call. I can explain how hard it is to get a decent babysitter without bankrupting myself. But that wouldn't change anything.
The thing is, unless you're a friend that I see regularly at Mum's groups, or you're willing to pin me down and make me put a date in the diary, it's easy for the time to fly past. One minute you're visiting me at home with a newborn baby in my arms, the next minute we're meeting for coffee after dropping the kids off at school. Secondary school.
If I'm honest, I wouldn't want to be friends with me right now. Even if you're 'lucky' enough to arrange a meeting (then the babysitter turns up, the kids are well and I'm not totally skint) it's likely that all I'll be able to talk about is just how tired I am - if I'm awake enough to talk at all. Other topics include Lily, Ollie, housework (laundry in particular) and sleep.
I am considerate enough to try not to yawn in your face. But I often fail.
You may think that bribing me with alcohol would work. A catch up with friends and a large glass of wine always go well together. But my tolerance for hard drinks has been eroded after a combined few of years of pregnancy and breastfeeding. Any prolonged exposure to alcoholic beverages now leaves me very tipsy or, you guessed it, asleep.
And don't forget, I don't drive, so you usually have to be willing to come to mine or pick me up!
Although I may be really crap in our friendship right now, I want you to know that you are amazing.
I want to tell you that I stalk your facebook profile in the dead of night (sounds creepy, but it's only because I'm up with a teething baby).
I want to tell you that I appreciate your patience, your ongoing interest in me and my little family - even when we're not that interesting.
I want you to know that I treasure the memories of all the amazing, fun and hilarious times we've had together. That I look forward to a time when we can make more.
I want to tell you that I often see things that make me think of you. And every time I think of you I smile.
I want you to know that I love you. I'm always here if you need me. You're always welcome in my home for a hug and a cup of lukewarm tea.
I'm Stephanie, and I am a crap friend. But you? You are a great friend. Thank you!