By Amy Wenk
Tatjana Meiere didn’t know anyone when she moved from Germany to Brookhaven with her husband and young son Alex in October 2008.
But upon the recommendation of a mother she met at a playground, Meiere attended an open house for the DeKalb Chapter of Mothers & More. The group that began in September 2001 offers a variety of family activities like playgroups and moms’ nights out.
“I really felt so welcome,” said Meiere, who appreciates the advice she can glean from “veteran” mothers, especially when her son had a runny nose for three weeks.
“It’s really more for me than for my child,” Meiere said. “I recommend it to anybody. These are great people, great moms. I always have fun with them.”
Mom’s clubs have become a popular way for women and their children to make new friends and find fun things to do. There are several open to Brookhaven residents.
The DeKalb Chapter of Mothers & More draws moms with diverse backgrounds and children of all ages from across the county. Chapter meetings are held the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month.
The group kicked off their “Summer Survival for Moms!” program on May 27 at tahCha Tea House on Chamblee-Tucker Road.
“When all the kids are out of school, we sort of scramble to figure out how to fill our days,” said Decatur mother of two, Lisa Sharp, who has been a member of the group for six years.
Sharp was one of about 10 members who that night brainstormed activities for the summer including trips to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens and the Center for Puppetry Arts.
“Our chit chat could last until this place closes at 11,” said Sheila Elwin of Pine Lake, who has been a member just about since her child, 6-year-old Micah, was born. “We have more moms now that like to get out of the house by themselves. I’ve already lined up a salsa dance lesson.”
“We all get along,” said another six-year member, Amy Forman of Decatur.
That’s because “we don’t come here and talk about politics, and we don’t have arguments about breastfeeding,” Elwin said.
That camaraderie is what drew Brookhaven resident Susan Moody to the group.
“I wanted to branch out and see what other moms did with their kids in DeKalb,” said Moody, mother of 6-year-old Ashlyn, who joined the group three years ago after moving from Cobb County. “I get new ideas. It’s always that somebody is discovering new places to go.”
Moody said one of her favorite activities is picnicking at PDK airport. “It’s good to know you can pick up the phone and call somebody.”
Another Brookhaven resident Susan Kelly joined groups like Mothers & More but was discouraged that few members had children that attended the same preschool as her child.
“There wasn’t anything in my immediate neighborhood,” Kelly said.
So three years ago, the Brookhaven Mom’s Club was founded for members of the Historic Brookhaven Homeowners Association, which serves the area bounded by Peachtree Road, Peachtree-Dunwoody Road, Windsor Parkway and Osborne Road.
The group for moms with children under six years old meets monthly, gathers for playgroups and holds neighborhood events like Easter egg hunts and Halloween parties. The club also has begun community service activities.
“We feel it’s been really successful,” Kelly said.
Other Brookhaven neighborhoods such as Drew Valley, Brookhaven Fields and Ashford Park may have similar moms clubs, said resident Andrea Botham.
Botham started her own group a year and a half ago called the Brookhaven/Buckhead Stay at Home Mom’s Playgroup.
She said she created the group after moving back to Atlanta from London with her then 9-month-old son Finn.
“We just needed to meet more people from the area,” Botham said. “When you have kids it’s hard to meet other moms.”
The playgroup, which caters to mothers with 2-year-olds, now has 39 members. The women meet every two weeks at places like the Atlanta Zoo, Ashford Park and HippoHopp, an indoor playground on Briarwood Court.
“Moms need a way to meet other people,” Botham said. “Playgroups are the way to do it these days.”
She said the group aims to create friendships for children but also offers mom’s nights out.
“Life is definitely still about having fun,” Botham said, “even after becoming moms!”