Mom, I'm sorry.
You deserve so much better.
While we're at it, so do all of America’s women.
What happened? When did treating women like objects —or worse— become the new norm?
The standard is that society treats mothers, particularly full-time moms, like the great unwashed.
A few weeks ago I introduced two friends when the three of us crossed paths in a store. The first, a talented woman with a successful career, asked the other what she did.
“Oh,” the second said with her eyes down, as if being questioned at a crime scene, “I'm just a stay-home mom.”
Really? I thought.
When I challenged her later, she said that while she's proud to be a wife and mother, she faces so much mother prejudice that the “just a mom” answer has become the canned reply. She believes that the media and Hollywood makes mothers feel as though they’re less talented and less beautiful if they raise kids and no longer fit into their wedding dresses.
But you don't have to be a mother to feel the effects of this new normal.
Have you listened to popular music lately? As of today, 18 of the top 20 tracks on Apple Music are explicit, as are 17 of the top 20 full-length albums. Most of these songs degrade women with hateful language and deadly, damaging stereotypes. There aren’t enough bars of soap to wash out the mouths of today’s most popular “artists.”
If I’d said these things about women or mothers when I was young, I would've been suspended at school and grounded indefinitely at home. Today, if a rapper says these things, he or she gets a Grammy and an invitation to the White House.
Speaking of the White House, when did the new norm become that it’s perfectly acceptable for the presumptive presidential nominee of a major party to be a playground bully with an established record of calling women ugly, fat, pigs and poking fun at their faces?
Oh, and if he’s not too busy, he might take time to mock the disabled on live television.
Think about it. The two leading candidates for president are a woman who once derisively said she could have skipped a profession and “stayed home and baked cookies and had teas” and a man with a vocab so dirty, calling him a potty mouth would be a compliment.
Happy Mother’s Day, America! My gift is an apology.
I’m sorry we don’t stand up for you early and often enough.
I’m sorry that movies mock you and men curse you.
I'm sorry that we don't call you enough, visit enough, say “please,” “thank you” and “yes ma’am” nearly often enough.
I'm sorry that in generations past, we would cover a mud puddle for you. But today we scoop it up, throw it at you and call it art.
Whether it’s Mother’s Day or not, it’s time for men to stand up and say that it’s not O.K. to marginalize moms.
It’s time to say that it’s never OK to objectify daughters of God as sexual machines.
It’s time to tell our teens that it’s not OK to listen to these trashy tunes that refer to women as “b words,” “w words” or worse.
And perhaps Mother’s Day is a good excuse to demand political leaders who treat others with respect -- even when they disagree.
Moms, you deserve so much better.
Jason F. Wright is a New York Times bestselling author, columnist and speaker. His newest book is “A Letter to Mary: The Savior's Loving Letter to His Mother” . Subscribe to his weekly columns.