Department of Energy

Parents @ Energy

May 7, 2018

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People are the heart of the U.S. Department of Energy. Our employees drive our mission, as the talented women and men at the agency offer their skill on behalf of the nation each day.

On Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day (April 26, 2018) we celebrate the parents who work here, inviting their children ages 8-18 to experience life at DOE. Over 160 children are at our Forrestal Office today in Washington, D.C., and nearly 50 children are participating in activities at our Germantown, Maryland location. Across the nation, nearly 40 million participants throughout 3.5 million work locations are participating in Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.

“I don’t just see sons and daughters,” said Jody Hudson, the Chief Human Capital Officer at the U.S. Department of Energy. “I see future scientists and engineers.” In his opening remarks to the Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day attendees, he said “You’ll get a little bit of a sense of what we do here at the Department of Energy. You might see something that really sparks something in you, that makes you think wow, that’s something I would like to do when I become an adult.”

Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, the new Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, welcomed children of the Department’s employees as well. “Our workforce includes some of the best and brightest across the country,” she said. “You’ll get an idea of the important work your moms and dads, grandparents, step parents, aunts and uncles and mentors do. When they come to work they give everything they have to make sure our country is safe and secure.” Administrator Gordon-Hagerty also tipped off the kids that there’s a Dunkin Donuts in the building, which stocked up for their visit today.

Here are some stories of parents at the Department of Energy, and their advice to other working parents.

Dan Brouillette, the Department of Energy's Deputy Secretary, has nine children - Stephen, age 26, Julia, age 23, Danielle, age 19, Sam, age 18, Catherine, age 16, Jackie, age 14, Joelle, age 11, Addie age 8, and Christopher, age 5. Several of his children are pictured here with him during his official swearing in ceremony. "Always remember that as important the work is that we do here," said Deputy Secretary Bouillette, "it's never as important as raising the next generation. Your (our) future depends on them!"

Elizabeth and Irina, age 6 years. “Irina thinks my job is really cool because I get to make pictures (charts) and help people (civil service), she also thinks math and science are the best subjects at school so she brags ‘my mommy’s a scientist!’”, Elizabeth said. “My advice, be as flexible as possible because you have to accommodate a lot of people (your boss, the school, your family, etc.), and maximize your use of workplace flexibility (schedule, telework, leave) to do that. I have a disability and live a bit out in Northern Virginia, so being able to work from home to minimize time lost to travel for doctor’s appointments or to volunteer at my daughter’s school is invaluable. Also, taking time during the day once in while with flex scheduling means grabbing a lunch date with my husband without hiring a sitter.”

AnneMarie and Zora, age 22 months. “I bike in with my daughter, since she’s at the on-site day care,” AnneMarie said. “I’m lucky to have her so close by because I get to stop in and see her during the day. My advice for other working parents is to find a community of other parents in the office– the other moms I’ve met at DOE through the moms’ room have been a close network ever since I came back to work after she was born.”

Anita and Ashley Jane, 5. Ashley goes to school close to DOE so she is able to visit the office at the end of the day. This has allowed her to look at the photos on the walls and at DOE museum that leads to many discussions about science. She has had the opportunity to meet many female leaders at the Department to see what women in STEM and other fields can accomplish. My advice for other working parents is to not be afraid to share your story. Others may be experiencing the same struggles that you have overcome, both big and small. They might benefit greatly from your trials and successes.

Bob and Caitlin, age 15, and Colin, age 13. “Growing up in the Washington, DC, area offers interesting opportunities for children of federal workers.  My wife Anita, and children Caitlin and Colin and I attended POTUS Trump Inauguration Ball in January 2017 and we all enjoyed the festivities,” Bob said. “The children were able to better understand the Presidential transition process and meet leaders of our nation.   Colin was able to join Deputy Secretary Brouilette, other dignitaries and I at the Solar Decathlon 2017 in Denver, Colorado. Daughters and sons can sometimes join you at work, learn something new, and have fun!”

Sarah and Natasha, age 11, and Tyler, age 15. “My daughter, Natasha loves the fact that I work at DOE because it’s really cool that I get to travel to all sorts of places helping people and I come back with stories and gifts!’” Sarah said. “Natasha enjoys coming to my office, meeting my colleagues, baking them treats (she is famous for her banana bread) and seeing me in action in meetings, which is different from how she sees me at home. My advice to other parents, with younger kids is to not worry...Kids are more resilient than we might think!  I loved being able to visit my kids at the DOE daycare but I’m honestly not sure how much of a difference it made to them!

Atiq and Humza, age 3. “I am blessed to have a flexible schedule; I come in late to work after I drop off my boy to his pre-school or if the school is opening late or if I get a call from the school to pick him up early,” Atiq said. “While my wife was doing her medical residency and I was taking care of our boy and was being the mommy and the daddy, I learned that this is the most difficult job in the world and I salute every working parent because I know how tough it is. I am very lucky to have a flexible schedule, it helps me balance my personal life and work life. Advice that I‘d give to new parents is speak up if you need help. It’s not easy raising kids especially if you both work, it’s very hard to juggle with everything when you are not getting enough sleep, it’s a 24/7 job. Talk to other parents who are in similar situation. Talk to your boss for flexible schedule and telework; people understand and you need to let people around you know what you are going through so the doors of help would open up. In the meantime, stay calm, and try to enjoy this time because they grow very fast.”

Lisa and Nehemiah, age 12 years old. Nehemiah said “My mom has a cool job and the work seems to be very interesting.” Lisa’s advice for other working parents is to cherish every moment, and to hug and kiss your child in the midst of the full-time working parent juggling act.

Faiza with her sons Noah, age 10, and Daniel, age 13 (four other children not pictured!). "She chose a good job to have," said Noah. "She makes videos that explain nuclear." Faiza's advice for other working parents is to learn to delegate. "You don't have to do it all," Faiza said. "When you are working outside of the home your time is limited. Find help to get household chores done so you can have more energy to have quality time with the kids when you aren't working."

Stephanie with Ben, age 20 months. "We have Ben in a daycare close to home," Stephanie said, "which is nice because it saves him a commute and allows me to telework more easily. He enjoys being able to walk to and from daycare when it's nice enough out to do so! I think it's helpful to have a network of parents you work with, and parents of your child's classmates, so that you can talk to each other about the ups and downs of working while parenting."

Lark, age 2.5, is Kent's daughter. "Our older daughter Lark enjoys climbing to new heights daily - and when she is done following us around to ensure the lights are switched off when we leave the room, she is glad to help manage other energy-focused projects, such as planting solar lights in sundry places," said Kent. "For other working parents, I salute those who also look for every opportunity to safely engage my children in all the energy actions of mine, whether its explaining why the car tires are kept full, fallen trees are turned into lumber, or that the lights are switched off when no-ones there, or to not run water when not needed, during teethbrushing.  Mostly, the answer includes variations on - so there is enough for us tomorrow..."

Matt and Ishmael, age 1 year. “This is my beautiful son, Ishmael,” Matt said. “He thinks my job is feeding him, which is correct. My work at DOE does not impact him because he sleeps 18 hours a day, waking only for meals and midnight sprints around our apartment. One tip for working parents: crumpled up balls of printer paper make for a low-cost, low-impact way to foster independent play.”