Nod to moms is reaching far beyond Hinsdale

With a full-time job, three children, a husband, a house and a dog, Walker Rediehs was busy enough already. In the weeks following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, she and fellow moms everywhere found out just how much busier life could get.

With kids learning from home, parents working from home and the stress of the whole situation, Rediehs decided her fellow moms were deserving of an award.

"It was a made-up award for my girlfriends. The Homeschooling Mom of the Day Award," Rediehs said. "It took off."

In the months since Rediehs poked that first sign into her girlfriend's lawn, that single act of kindness and encouragement has grown into a network known as Bomb Moms. Now active in six Chicago suburbs and ready to launch in several more towns across several states, Bomb Moms recognizes women for the long hours they put in every day.

Each Bomb Moms chapter has a local "mombassador" at the lead and a local business as its sponsor. One nominated mom in each participating town is honored each week with a yard sign and "swag" from the sponsoring business. In return, the business has its logo included on the yard signs and social media posts.

Nominations are received via Instagram and through and almost always outnumber the number of awards available each week, Rediehs said.

Since posting that first congratulatory sign, Rediehs left her job to commit more time to her three children and to the Bomb Moms project. As the project expands across the country, Rediehs is preparing to capitalize on the network built by the flagship Hinsdale chapter to give back to the entire community.

On Friday, Feb. 12, Rediehs and the Bomb Moms of Hinsdale will host a food drive to benefit HCS Family Services. From 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., moms and other community members of are encouraged to drop off nonperishable food donations at 733 Town Place, Hinsdale.

Rediehs said she hopes to host a similar event every quarter as a way to help those in need and to showcase the impact of local moms on their community.

Bomb Moms is about more than a yard sign, Rediehs said. The project has brought women together and drawn attention to the role moms play as society journeys through the pandemic.

"These stay-at-home moms are rock stars," Rediehs said.

The pandemic helped to get Bomb Moms started. But with countless moms out there deserving of recognition, Rediehs said she doesn't see an end to the project. Soon, people everywhere will have the chance to honor a "Bomb Mom," no matter where she lives. Packages, including yard signs, will be available for order online to honor exceptional moms all over the country.

"The crazy part about it is realizing how much moms never just got recognition for just being moms," Rediehs said.

Bomb Moms is changing that, one yard sign at a time.

- story by Sandy Illian Bosch, photo by Jim Slonoff