I Tried a Parenting Personal Assistant App—and Here's Why I Loved It

One mom shares her experience using a new personal assistant service for parents called Yohana and how it's helped her realize it's OK to ask for help when you need it.

image of Yohana family assisting app against Parents background
Photo: Getty Images / Yohana

As pandemic parents, we've done the impossible. We have balanced full-time jobs, child care, school, and relationships. Full disclosure, I am a relatively new parent who had their first child in January 2020. I don't know anything other than being a pandemic parent. What is normalcy when it comes to parenting?

When the Parents team asked me if I'd like to try a new personal assistant service for parents called Yohana, I thought it was a gift from the heavens. Had someone seen me unbathed, up to my ears in laundry, eating crumbs off my robe, and balancing a child on my lap while giving a work presentation and thought, "This woman needs help?" Let's just say I was open (desperate) to try the service.

I also had the pleasure of meeting with Yoky Matsuoka, the founder and CEO of Yohana. While working at Apple and Google, she developed health technology we use, including inventing a robotic hand that takes instructions from the brain, and helping to create the Nest thermostat. Her resume is extensive and she's also a mom of four children. I was blown away and inspired by her approachability and her candor. She understands what it means to be balancing a hundred different things at the same time and created an app to help alleviate the never-ending parenting to-do list.

To start the service, I had an intro call with the Yohana staff to review my personal needs and example tasks. I was then matched with a local personal assistant (yes, it's a real person!) who would be available for unlimited requests. I found the app, which is managed via mobile or desktop, to be intuitive and I can't say better things about the Yohana supporting staff.

My personal assistant, Alexis, was responsive, personable, and organized. I used the service for a wide breadth of tasks including helping to find a cake and cookies for my daughter's second birthday and getting kids recipes and fun craft ideas. We also unexpectedly got into a situation where we had to quickly shift from having my daughter in daycare to look for a part-time nanny and Yohana provided resources for reputable services in the area. Yohana proved to be a valuable helping hand. Knowing tasks were being worked on freed up more time for me to spend with family. It also created necessary time and space for myself to do the things I enjoy, like walking, reading, cooking, and let's be honest, watching 30 minutes of reality TV.

Yohana app home improvement
Courtesy of Yohana

Beyond standard household tasks and to-dos, Yohana can also help parents with various other projects like scheduling forgettable renewals (think passports, national park passes, and driver's licenses), researching local organizations to volunteer as a family, helping to plan a family getaway, and sourcing and managing home projects with local vetted pros. (Note: these larger projects with third-party pros are an additional spend based on the cost of the project and materials, and are not included in the Yohana monthly membership fee. However, there is no additional fee for your Yohana team to manage the selection, contracting, and execution of the repairs with the local business.)

As parents, we tend to hold on to a false narrative that we should feel guilty to ask for help, to delegate, and to create more time for ourselves. Somehow, we've been convinced these are selfish actions that make us a lesser-than parent. But the truth is, to support our families and to be there for everyone around us, we need to start with ourselves. My only personal challenge with utilizing Yohana was my own struggle to let go of control and let someone else take the reins. This exercise taught me how to ask for help and that it's OK to accept it—and that's a glorious thing!

Yohana membership is a monthly subscription of $249 plus tax. After launching in Seattle in September 2021, Yohana is now also available in Los Angeles. Those who sign up in Los Angeles between June 7-June 30 get 50% off their first three months. Yohana is expected to launch in more cities in the future.

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