When you've been at home for a while with young children the days take a certain, often laborious pattern; there's little time for sex appeal to feature, in my opinion.

As I've detailed plenty before in this column, a woman with masticated baby food spread through her hair and vegemite smeared up her arms is hardly a sex symbol. The only time I'm "hot" is when I've lugged the 10-and-a-half kilogram baby anywhere. Steamy: yes. When I've left a pot of water boiling on the stove to attend the fifth falling out between older siblings of the day. And so on.

I was partly thrilled and partly alarmed to be given the glad eye by a random male in a cafe the other day. To this day I have no idea whether he was, in fact, checking me out. But unlikely as it seems, I reckon he was. Goodness knows why. I had a baby regurgitating banana muffin on my knee and a six-year-old wolfing down a chocolate brownie next to me. I was hardly dressed in a very appealing fashion but that's because I had just done the housework as the baby slept, and without thinking or changing, once he woke up, whisked him out the door. I was gulping back the caffeine like my life depended on it.

The man in question was a construction worker, and so I suppose he might get sick of looking at his fellow workers all day. He might also be short sighted. He may have thought I was someone else... but he was definitely looking in my direction. Unlike another man who did this one time before, he didn't get up at the end of his coffee and come barrelling over with a pram full of dolls to ask me if all my friends were dead (true story!)

Sad as it seems, this very short and rather meaningless encounter gave me a lift for the day because it seems to me that at a point in time in a woman's life, she stops being "seen" by the opposite sex as anything other than a piece of scenery. That goes double and triple if you have children with you, in the main. Of course, this shouldn't matter - you only need to be noticed as an attractive being by your significant other, if you have one - but most of us, in this looks-obsessed world anyhow, crave some sort of recognition of our inherent sex appeal.

It can be a painful process to realise you don't have the "pulling" power you might have once had - even if, for the meantime anyhow, you really wouldn't know what to do with it even if you did!