As my fellow JD Moms may remember, we had this professor in law school who introduced us to the the world of the “Parking Lot”. I remember this like it was only yesterday...There we were trying to pay attention in Contracts class as this Professor taught us about a theory of law when someone, not us of course, would raise his or her hand and ask some off-the-wall question dealing with another part of contract law we hadn’t gotten to yet. Everytime this would happen our Professor would calmly say to that student:
“We’re going to put that question in the parking lot…we’ll get there”.
Our Professor would then ignore the question and move on to the issue at hand. In law school I feared and hated the "Parking Lot" for the questions still unanswered and parked out in the "Parking Lot" somehow always managed to show up on a final exam!
But recently I've re-evaluated the concept of the "Parking Lot" and come to fully appreciate what a genius idea and coping mechanism it is.
I am notorious for over-thinking and over-analyzing everything in my life. Not only do I make a mountain out of a mole hill, I make an entire mountain range that rivals the Alps. Yes, I sadly must admit my reputation as a drama queen is spot on... I take a tiny problem and magnify it till it consumes my life!
This week I am having one of "those weeks" – I have had a ton of things to accomplish all while commuting 2 1/2 hours most days this week for depositions and high-tailing it home to pick up my kids in time for my husband to go off to work. This has not been an easy task and I have found myself getting overwhelmed.
During one of my drives through Iowa my mind wandered (since there is nothing exciting about driving Interstate 80 through Iowa) and I remembered the "Parking Lot". Suddenly I figured out my professor was brilliant. The “Parking Lot” was in reality a place our professor could put the questions he probably had no idea how to answer. By putting the questions in the “Parking Lot” he didn’t have to deal with that issue and could focus on the problem at hand.
My mind is always filled with countless questions and issues. Do I know enough to handle this huge federal construction case? Will H ever be Potty Trained? Has L already learned to sit up and I just haven’t seen it yet? Did I remember to return all my phone calls? Will I ever make partner? Does L wonder where I am when he sits at daycare? Is it bad I had to feed my kids fast food twice this week because of my schedule? Did I actually feed L bugs in the Similac recall? Will I be done with my inspection in time to rush home so Todd can go to work? Did I remember to send J with an item for Show and Share? Will H stop biting and hitting? Did I remember to take the clothes from the washer and put them in the dryer?
All these questions (and more) creep into my life during my day. I’ll be writing a Motion and one of these thoughts will creep into my mind. Suddenly I’m off track on my Motion and down a path toward becoming stressed out.
So maybe I need to create my own “Parking Lot” so that when these thoughts start to creep into my day I’ll just put them in the “Parking Lot” and handle them another time. The only problem is I have so many questions and problems in my life I am sure my “Parking Lot” will soon resemble that of Wal-Mart on the Saturday before Christmas. But considering several decades of established Contract law from our law school class are still sitting in the “Parking Lot” I’m sure there is room for all my concerns…if not maybe I’ll just create a “Parking Deck”!