Having children means you're never alone. You always have your buddy with you.
This can be brilliant.
You rarely crave human contact because it's available. All the time.
Whether it be a three-year-old launching themselves at your back and clinging to your neck like Batman’s cape, or a five-month-old discovering that if they clench their gums and throw their head back whilst feeding they can stretch your nipple to three times its original size.
Being constantly with children also means there is always noise.
It can be gentle noise. The panty breath of a sleeping baby. Or the ear-bleeding screech of a toddler who has been denied a fourth Peppa Pig yoghurt. Noise is absolutely synonymous with small people. And the lack of it can be unnerving.
If I’m driving and both children have fallen to sleep in the back, I have to reach round behind me and panickingly feel for two sets of feet because, although I know that I would never have left either of them on the pavement, there is always that millisecond of doubt that creeps in.
But the thing is, from time to time all you want is quiet. And to not be touched. If only for 10 minutes. And if you can get that, then you become a more tolerant person the rest of the time.
I regard myself as a loud person who hugs people for too long. Even on first meeting I have been known to go in for the bearhug, much to the surprise of the recipient.
So I was mildly shocked to discover that, since children, I sometimes crave silence and solitude.
In fact I dream of occasionally booking myself into a hotel for the night on my own.
It doesn’t have to be a posh hotel. A Travelodge on the outskirts of Scunthorpe would do.
But a space where I can lie completely still and not be woken at 4am by a three-year-old touching my face with clammy hands, and shouting ‘Mummy, is it wakey up time yet?’
Given that this isn’t going to happen anytime soon, I have had to be inventive when seeking moments to myself.
Today I took myself to the launderette down the bottom of our road as a treat.
As Ben fed the children, I took two loads of washing, Heat magazine and a Dairy Milk and spent half an hour waiting for our clothes to dry in the industrial dryers.
Now, this doesn’t bring on the kind of zen-like calm you experience after a spa weekend, but it's just about enough to have a quick power recharge before going home, ready to be leap on/ squeezed/ prodded/ kneaded.
And on top of that, everyone now has clean undies.
So I guess it’s a win all round.