Mom Muse | Keri deGuzman
Mother of four and a former Pediatric Cardiac ICU nurse, Keri deGuzman is on a mission to change the destiny of children in Ethiopia. Why you ask? Her life was changed forever when she and her husband Brian decided to adopt their four children — Jesmina 7, Musse 6, Mintesnot-Solomon 4, and Tesfanesh 4 — from this African nation perhaps best-known for its poverty. The deGuzman kids are only four of the estimated 6 million abandoned and orphaned children struggling to survive in Ethiopia (UNICEF, 2006). Determined to help improve the lives of as many children in their own children’s homeland as they could, the couple started The 4Mati Foundation, which Keri manages when she’s not busy running her kids to school and their numerous activities. Oh, and this modern day hero happens to love fashion and have a penchant for designer clothes. We are inspired by this busy mom and humanitarian on so many levels.
MSL: Describe your style in five words or less.
On-trend and chic, yet sexy.
MSL: What’s the one item in your closet you can’t live without, that makes you feel both chic and comfortable?
This is a tough question!! Daytime: Rich & Skinny jeans; Evening: leather pants
MSL: Do you have any tips on how you streamline your morning routine?
I try to get up and get ready before the kids wake up. However, in my house that rarely ever happens! So, I opt for the 15-minute or less routine — throw on a “go-to outfit” that I know is comfortable and always looks good (usually skinny jeans and a blouse or sweater), minimize my makeup, opt for an easy bun or braid, a pair of earrings, and a pair of chic flats or boots to complete the outfit. And if I am really running late, fashionable workout clothes are always great option!
MSL: In your opinion, what is the biggest fashion “don’t” for moms?
MSL: What inspired you to start the 4Mati Foundation? How can people find out more?
My four children inspired me to start The 4Mati Foundation. “Mati” is an endearing Amaharic word for “little ones” or “small children.” The number 4 represents my four beautiful Ethiopian-born children and also “for” the children the foundation strives to help. After my multiple travels to Ethiopia, I wanted to give back to a country that has given me the four most precious gifts anyone could ask for. In a country that is stuck in the devastating cycle of poverty, so much focus in the media is always about the negative. I don’t want the association of where my children came from with such sadness and hopelessness. Ethiopia is a beautiful country filled with incredible natural resources and hopeful children that hold the key to the future success of the country. Our goal is to change the destinies of children born into poverty so they become inspirational members of society, thus impacting the future of their community and country. To learn more about our projects that focus on education, nutrition and self-sustainability, please visit our website at www.4matifoundation.org.
MSL: Developing a unique style comes at an early age for some children. Do you let your children choose what they’re going to wear? How do you talk about getting dressed with your little ones?
I allow my children to get dressed on their own. My only two rules are it needs to be stain-free and somewhat match! I have come to learn that clothes are one of the ways that kids express their independence and individuality. I talk to them, especially my oldest, about how it is a privilege to have choices and being able to pick their own clothes shows that they are able to make good decisions.
MSL: What’s your best style advice for other moms out there?
Wear what makes you feel beautiful and comfortable. You do not need a huge wardrobe, just a few great pieces that are timeless, fit perfectly, and you can mix and match easily.