OTR & COTA mothers I really need some advice

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Comments (6)

shelly in San Antonio, Texas

42 months ago

I am having an extremely difficult time making a decision on OT school due to a unique set of circumstances and could really use some advice from moms working in the field. So, I'll start at the top...

A few years back I decided to work towards a career change to OT. I took my prereqs, applied to school and was accepted. Problem - I became pregnant during the application process and was due during the first term of school. Because of this I had to give up my position in the class (no deferral) and reapply the following year. I had a beautiful baby boy and I've been immensely enjoying my new role as mom. The time came to reapply for school, which I did... but now I am extremely conflicted on going.

I have VERY good grades, did some killer observation and enjoyed the experience. I am 36 years old and just had my first child, he will be 10 months old when school starts. I have always wanted to be a stay at home mom, and would like to have one or two more children. I'm not getting any younger.

I don't know if I should go to school and try to have another baby towards the end of the program, but then the issue comes up of completing the program and then wanting to stay home with another baby, not work full time. An OT friend said I could find something that was just a few weekends a month and avoid childcare... but I don't know what goes into upkeep on the license and stuff. It seems weird to get a master's degree and then stay home. I would like to start working again when my kiddos enter school.

I am wondering if I should not go, stay at home and possibly try to become a COTA after my kids start school. But then I feel like it is such a waste to throw out the grades I worked VERY HARD for, and this opportunity to get a Master's degree. I also feel like if I'm going to do the Masters it has to be now, later would just be COTA. The master's could be too much with 3 kids at home. Hello internal turmoil!!!

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Student101 in Houston, Texas

41 months ago

I'm expecting my 1st child June 2013. Although I was not pregnant during OT school, I understand how you feel about going back to work but at the same time, not wanting to give up being a mom. OT school is NOT easy to get into & w/ the rate of how many applications are being submitted and fighting for a spot, you should take advantage of getting in. do you have family who can help you watch your 10 month old while you attend class? you mentioned you got good grades, so maybe your academics are strong, therefore, you wouldn't have to put in as many hours studying vs a student who doesn't pick up quite as fast on the material.
When I was in school, there were 2 moms around your age but had toddlers. they commuted every day & got through school--so it is possible! it just take a strong commitment to stay on track & not give up b/c in the end, when you receive your masters and have plenty of opportunities/flexibility w/ jobs, it will be great!
This is my 1st child so I decided I would go part-time & do prn also. In-laws are nearby so that helps w/ babysit. each week, I may not have 40 hrs but I have the flexibility to be home w/ the baby & pick up shifts when I want too. Also, if I can not go to work, it's easy to not go unlike being FT where you HAVE to go. of course, this all depends on your own personal financial situation & what your family decide what is best.

my feeling is that if you do not do this NOW, you may end up waiting longer to go back to school & that just seems SO MUCH MORE DIFFICULT as you age. I know it's scary but like you mentioned, you worked HARD to get where you are now, & you just have to roll w/ the punches during grad school.
Can you wait till AFTER your last semester to have another baby? or maybe 1 or 2 months before the last semester ends, you can try to conceive?
I think the COTA program may be a couple of months short of a masters, so why not just put in a couple more months get the masters?

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Irish_OT in Tenafly, New Jersey

41 months ago

Honestly, I would either hold off having another babe until you complete OT school and then work a year. Once you're employed for 1 year you are entitled to 12 weeks of leave under the Federal Mandated Families Medical Leave Act. You can then go back part time.
If you don't think you can wait that long, then maybe have your babes and be a SAHM. OT school and the OT career will always be there.

An interesting idea I recently saw....a SAHM who was working toward her OT degree advertised herself as a babysitter with services related to OT (play therapy, etc.) She advertised that she was an OT student and could babysit while simultaneously provide OT-ish services. She was able to charge a little more than normal babysitters, was able to put her education to immediate practice, and built herself a nice clientele. Brilliant!!

Best of Luck!

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GuyOT33 in Henderson, Nevada

41 months ago

I think you should go for it. Great job and job security the rest of your life. You can also set your own hours when you need that time at home. We have had two women in the program have children. Their grades are great and they are doing just fine. We also have several women with children under 3 years old. They say that they have a strong support base at home and are also doing just fine in the program. One of the women starting bringing her newborn to class during pediatrics. It brightened up the class that much more. I know I am a guy, but I hope that helps. This may not be my place, but I would suggest waiting to have the second child after anatomy and neuro due to the chemicals used on the cadavers.


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jplusa in Hayward, California

40 months ago

I'm a single mom and will be going back to school in a MOT program this fall. I agree that where there is a will, there is a way. That said, I would hold off on baby #2, and finish the OT program and get certified. You will have the Master's under your belt, and I really think that it would be hard to go back to school after having all the kids. Plus, your kids won't be home forever. When they are off to school, in activities, and with friends, you'll want something for yourself. I know at least for me, I wouldn't want to be a homemaker the rest of my life. You may find the right balance for you in the OT field.

Good luck.

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shelly in San Antonio, Texas

40 months ago

Thank you so much for the replies, I really appreciate everyone who took the time to post. I ended up declining my position in the class. I was extremely torn on what to do when my husband received an incredible job opportunity... turning it down was not an option. Turns out we'll be moving out of state! I am very happy to stay home with my little boy. There are many years left in my life to return to school, not so many years left to have children. Had I gone to school I would have been close to 40 by the time I finished my MOT and got certified . I would like to have one or two more children and really can't afford to wait that long.

I think what was supposed to happen happened for our family. Perhaps I can return to school and become a COTA when my children enter school. I still feel that I would really enjoy OT and be very good at it. Thanks again for your replies! :)

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