Back to Sanity



  • Back to Sanity 1 of 9

    Parent Needs for Back-to-School: Alarm Clock We’ve all had the horror of trying to find the right 3-inch binder or that elusive pack of markers, but after several seasons of weathering the hunt for school supplies, I have to ask: What about us parents? Don’t we need a few tools to help us adjust to the new school year? Over the years, I’ve created my own personal supply wish list, with a few choice items that would come in really handy. For example:

    1. An alarm clock that will effectively rouse me from sleep in the pitch-black darkness. My husband finds my ability to fall back into a deep slumber 18 consecutive times between snoozes as baffling as I find the alarm clock industry’s inability to produce an alarm clock I can’t outmaneuver — while dead asleep &mdash for 10 more minutes of rest.

  • Back to Sanity 2 of 9

    Parent Needs for Back-to-School: public address system 2. A portable public address system (perhaps a bullhorn?) for making morning announcements like, “We’re leaving in five minutes, so you better have clothes on!” without having to strain my tender vocal chords.

  • Back to Sanity 3 of 9

    Parent Needs for Back-to-School: Elementary Math for Adults Who Remember Nothing 3. An “Elementary Math for Adults Who Remember Nothing” book, so I can continue to delude my children that I do, indeed, know everything. This is particularly necessary now that they understand the concept of a Google search.

  • Back to Sanity 4 of 9

    Parent Needs for Back-to-School: Over-the-counter medications 4. Over-the-counter medications to stave off midnight drives to the drugstore to counteract illnesses such as swine flu, the Ebola virus, scurvy, etc. Something will hit epidemic status within the first three weeks of school starting, and I like to be prepared.

  • Back to Sanity 5 of 9

    Parent Needs for Back-to-School: A new book of checks 5. A new book of checks, as I will be writing hundreds for things like school spirit wear, PTA dues, lunch money, supplies for the class hamster, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I love supporting the school — but I wish the hamster accepted debit cards online.

  • Back to Sanity 6 of 9

    Parent Needs for Back-to-School: A self-sorting garbage can with vacuum suction 6. A self-sorting garbage can with vacuum suction for collecting the mass of graded schoolwork, artwork, and other assorted papers that find their way into backpacks. As long as it’s self-sorting, I’d like it to hang the cute artwork on appropriate bulletin boards, and key important dates directly into my calendar.

  • Back to Sanity 7 of 9

    Parent Needs for Back-to-School: A large bottle of win 7. A large bottle of wine. No explanation necessary.

  • Back to Sanity 8 of 9

    Parent Needs for Back-to-School The unfortunate fact is several of these items either do not exist, or would be met with great resistance in my household (e.g., the bullhorn). But I will be making a slightly more feasible list for maintaining my sanity during those first few weeks of school. Let’s face it — the cutest pencil case doesn’t help a child transition smoothly into another year of school quite as much as a sane mother. Therefore, I’ll be leaving wine on the list.

    Amy M. Dawson is an Atlanta-based columnist planning to invent the self-sorting garbage can. In the meantime, she writes about balancing work and life at

  • Back to Sanity 9 of 9

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