I have three small children, all 18 months apart in age. I love my children and enjoy looking after them, but with three of them and one of me (my husband works long hours) logistics can be a real problem.
I have now had two au pairs and I cannot recommend it enough. I can now take one child to a play date or an after school activity without having to round everyone up & load them into the car... My eldest gets proper homework time without the younger two constantly interrupting or making noise... bath time is less stressful... And I am now even able to have one-to-one quality time with each of my children every week, which just was not possible before.
Both of our au pairs have been lovely young women who have been a pleasure to get to know and a real help to me. When it works out with an au pair, you work as a team and then after the initial period when they are learning your ways (each family is different) they can take over while you duck out to get on with other tasks. You also get back more than just help with the children & housework. We have also learnt some fun things about their countries, for example Christmas traditions from their country, cakes & food from their country etc. And of course it is always fun to make them try Marmite for the first time! And each in their own way, have passed on something unique to my children and indeed to us all. Our last au pair was a real book worm and my eldest is now an avid reader!
We are staying in touch with both of our au pairs. My old au pair who helped look after me when I was little came to my wedding. I would not be surprised if one day we went to our au pair's wedding or if my children visited them on GAP years and suchlike. It really can be a positive experience for all round.