My go-to response when someone asks me how I am is "tired." It allows them to show some brief, polite sympathy and provides a natural segue into a safe and limitless small talk topic, the kids (I'm not a conversationalist; I rely on tricks to get me through unstructured social situations).
But I find myself annoyed at times that "tired" is so easy to blow off, particularly during the first month or two or three or four or five or however many after a baby. I can't remember where I read it, but I thoroughly enjoyed one mother's fury at seeing her husband sleeping when she'd been up all night, desperate for a newborn to go to sleep. She said she wanted to throw a bucket of ice water on him. Ahem.
The Mask of Motherhood by Susan Maushart (book: acknowledged to exist, neither recommended nor unrecommended). The image that stuck with me from that one was her description of a new mother fantasizing about sleep like a starving person dreams of food. Um, yes. When I daydream about my imaginary weekend away that could never happen, the central feature is sleeping, sleeping, sleeping until I wake up of my own accord, and then going back to sleep.
How many nocturnal hours I've spent in the baby's room HATING all sleeping people. Is there anything more offensive than the rising of the sun when you've been up all night? All creation doesn't give a care. Everybody needs bums wiped and clothes and breakfast and ponytails and supervision for another whole day.
I did that thing again the other day where I kept falling asleep in the middle of reading to the babies. I must have somehow slept through a whole paragraph because I know we finished the chapter, but when I read the same chapter again later to a kid who missed it the first time the entire last paragraph was completely unfamiliar. This amazes me.