Tom Brady Reveals the Hardest Part About Being a Parent

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One of the biggest challenges Tom Brady says he and Gisele Bündchen have as parents is trying to keep their kids grounded in reality. The challenge stems from the privilege afforded to them after massive success in their respective careers.

The 44-year-old NFL star made the revelation in a recent interview on the Drive With Jim Farley podcast. Farley, the CEO of Ford, said it's something he and his wife talk about with their kids now in high school, and with Brady and Bündchen's kids -- Benjamin, 12, and daughter Vivian, 9 -- slowly but surely approaching that age, he wanted Brady's insight when it comes to managing his kids' expectations as they grow up and get out in the real world.

"It's probably the hardest thing for us as parents, you know, with myself and my wife," Brady said. "My wife grew up in rural Brazil, the farthest state south, Rio Grande do Sul, very small kind of farming town, very simple girl. You know, there are two bedrooms in their house -- one for their parents and one for her and her five sisters."

"And I grew up in, I would say, a middle-class family in California," he continued. "My dad worked his a** off for our family. My mom stayed at home [and] took care of us kids, and I saw my mom work every day to make food for us at night and wash our clothes. They supported us by coming to all our games. It was amazing."

Brady, who also shares 14-year-old son, Jack, with actress Bridget Moynahan, then juxtaposed that upbringing with his and Bündchen's luxury lifestyle, and it's easy to see why keeping his children grounded is one of the hardest challenges for two parents who are global phenomenons reportedly worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

"We have people that clean for us. We have people that make our food. We have people that drive us to the airport if we need that," Brady said. "We get off a plane and there's people waiting for us, and we get ushered in. That's my kids' reality, which is the hard part to say, 'Guys, this is not the way reality really is, you know, and what can we do about that?"

The seven-time Super Bowl champion said the way to combat that is by creating experiences for their kids "along the lines of what most kids go through" and to realize that the luxuries they're afforded, thanks to wealthy parents, are "treats" and an experience not every kid is fortunate to experience.

In an interview with Variety, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback explained that it was a family decision when he decided to announce his retirement back in February. 

Tom Brady Variety Cover
Cliff Watts for Variety

"I made the decision in the moment, and I felt it was the right thing for the team to let the Bucs know. You need time to plan," he explained. "And then through conversations with Bruce [Arians, the team’s former coach], Jason [Licht, general manager] and my wife, I felt like I could still play and compete."

"And it’s not that I’m any less committed once I say that it’s a yes, but I’ve got a 14-year-old son who lives in New York City -- he wants time," he continued. "My wife, she’s been incredibly supportive of my career over a long period of time. So I had to talk with her, you know what I mean? Those decisions get made with me as a family. And I have two younger kids, one 12 and one 9 -- everyone’s got challenging lives."

As far as how much he's got left in the tank, Brady says he's taking it year by year, but admits the clock's ticking.

"I really don’t [know]. I would say it’s year to year: Could this be my last year? Absolutely. Could I change my mind? Absolutely," Brady said. "I’ve realized I don’t have five years left. I want to do it my way. I want to give it everything I got and see where I’m at. My body feels really good. I’ve had a lot of traumatic injuries over the years, but if things go really smoothly and we win, that’d be great."

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