Jacqueline - I have to be clear, here, about exactly what I mean by freeing up my schedule a bit... I am leaving one job out of three, which means that instead of working 50-60 hours per week outside the home, I'm working closer to 40. I'll actually be home two extra nights per week to put ds down to sleep. Make you feel better?
I, too, struggle with the need/desire to work in my profession and the need/desire to be with ds. I was able to be home with him exclusively for the first 9 months, and, while it was really wonderful for both of us, I definitely felt a gap in my life. I wish I could feel completely fulfilled as a SAHM, but it just didn't work for me. Push came to shove when dh had a job change and we lost our health benefits - it meant I really did have to go back to work. As "alternative" as I tend to be with meds, etc, I just can't go without health insurance for the family. It's simply too risky.
So, I think about ds often at work, but I know he is in a wonderful care situation (an AP caregiver with no children of her own and a maximum of two other children at any given time - sometimes it's only ds, sometimes it's one other child), and I know I'm doing what's best for all of us by meeting my own needs professionally (I can then feel "whole against the sky"... there's that quotation again!) as well as providing health insurance benefits. It isn't easy, though. I often feel as though I can't do either thing well (working or mothering) as I am trying to do both. Argh! But we still bf, co-sleep, etc, so I think we're on the right track.
So, lots of hugs to you as you navigate all of these questions - I know I'm not the first or the only mom ever to feel these doubts, but it doesn't make it any easier!